Thursday, November 20, 2014

95. Marcion was 'the elder' later identified as John

Papias, The Elder and Irenaeus’s Literary Borrowings in Adversus Haereses
By Stephan Huller
Irenaeus’s Adversus Haereses is properly defined as a synthetic text – that is, it was made through the combining of a number of constituent elements, separate material or abstract entities into a single or unified entity. As the title suggests it was written by a late second century Church Father ‘against heresies’ or against a plethora of number of philosophical schools that had varying degrees of influence over the contemporary Christian landscape.  Indeed after establishing a syntagma of those heretical groups in Book One, the more detailed rejection of heretical beliefs that follows is organized according to a four broad ‘categories’ that make up the remaining four volumes of this five book set.   Yet within these editorial constructs the actual content which makes up each book is confused and often difficult to follow. 

Over the last two centuries commentators have struggled to find the right adjectives to describe Irenaeus’s writing style.  Bacq has successfully demonstrated that the material is organized, and each book has a plan.[1]  But this isn’t what Bousset, Loofs and others have found problematic about the work.  Adversus Haereses can be called ‘ordered’ in the way a student might ‘copy and paste’ a series of articles with only the most superficial attempts to ‘streamline’ the resulting disjointed narrative.[2]  The real question in any serious analysis of Irenaeus’s work is whether a particular section of text is properly contextualized in its present setting.  In other words, did it originally come from someone or somewhere else?

If we were to take a stab at the problem of how the Adversus Haereses crystalized in its present form, we might look to Brent’s suggestion of the house schools associated with Hippolytus.[3]  Photius’s statement regarding a syntagma attributed to ‘Hippolytus’ developed in part from Irenaeus’s lectures (ὁμιλοῦντος) is certainly suggestive of the mileu which produced Adversus Haereses.  Moreover the Philosophumena represents yet another example of a patchwork heresiological compendium developed from the works of ‘the blessed elder Irenaeus’ (Phil. 6.37, 50).  Indeed with this text we can perhaps even see the situation in the literary workshop a little clearer still. 

In the middle of Book Six of the Philosophumena its anonymous editor acknowledges that the accuracy of Irenaeus’s reporting was challenged by one of his subjects – the Marcites.  The editor plainly states that these complaints may in fact have some merit as Irenaeus, in his words, “approached the subject of a refutation in a more unconstrained spirit, has explained such washings and redemptions, stating more in the way of a rough digest what are their practices.”  This means in effect that Irenaeus’s original reporting got into the hands of the Marcites.  They communicated their displeasure ‘denying’ what he said and now the editor in the Philosophumena has ‘corrected’ the original text accordingly. 

It is difficult to see how what now appears in the Philosophumena is a correction of what appears in Adversus Haereses 1.21.1 – 4.  The Marcites didn’t have the report that now appears in Adversus Haereses but the original and now lost Against the Marcites which stood behind a great number of variant text including his own.[4]  Indeed if we were to attempt to retrieve all the lost testimonials associated with this group we would have to cast a net much wider than mere explicit citations of Irenaeus.  The Anonymous Treatise on Baptism preserves an important parallel to the Marcite justification for their second baptism from Luke 12:50 and Mark 10:38 as well as a more sensible variant with respect to the origin of the rite out of the magical practices of Anaxilaus. 

The fact that the description of the Marcites in Adversus Haereses immediately follows the Valentinians is used to argue for the former sect as being an offshoot of the latter.  But appearances can be misleading.  The very synthetic nature of Adversus Haereses should raise doubts about any inference developed from the ordering of passages with each book.  The editors likely had at their disposal a great number of treatises from the previous century – those written by Irenaeus and perhaps even other authors – and material was arranged to suit the stated purpose of each book.  No consideration was given to maintaining the literary context from which those passages were drawn.

It is a simple fact of life that ancient editors didn’t treat their sources with a great deal of respect.  The explicit mention of Irenaeus in the Philosophumena is the exception rather than the rule.  When Tertullian decided to loosely translate the original source behind Adversus Haereses’s description of the Valentinian sect he doesn’t even so much as acknowledge his plagiarism.[5]  Similarly Adversus Marcionem III and Adversus Iudaeos’s parallel borrowing of an early source borders on literary rape.  It isn’t just that verbatim passages are used to apply to radically opposing groups (the Jews and the Marcionites) but rather that the same source material is split apart into smaller components and integrated into wholly dissimilar streams of thought that should draw out attention when tackling the origins of the fragments associated with an unnamed elder in Adversus Haereses 4.26.1 – 4.32.2.[6] 
The identity of the elder of Irenaeus has been the subject of much speculation.  Yet all studies have run up against a number of important difficulties.  Previous studies have found it difficult to know where the citations from the elder stop and Irenaeus’s commentary begins.  Moreover, in spite of the fact that explicit citations from the elder (i.e. where Irenaeus says ‘the elder said’) demonstrate clear thematic consistency a noticeable change in context occurs within Irenaeus’s commentary which has puzzled a number of contemporary commentators. 

Moll goes so far as to divide the portions of the text which tackle Marcion from what comes earlier which does not seem specifically interested in the heretic.[7]  Yet the problem goes much deeper than Marcion.  As we just noted, while the fragments seem all closely linked together, the commentary that develops around the fragments never stops changing.   Bacq identifies the overarching theme of the Book Four in terms of ‘two testaments.’  Yet this is not quite accurate.  He ultimately ignores the implications of the subtle difference between the Greek diatheke and the Latin testamentum.  In other words, the actual glue that holds Book Four together is the rejection of the Marcionite distinction between the ‘old’ covenant, which begins with Jesus’s appearance to Abraham and culminates with the giving of the Law on Sinai and the new covenant developed from the gospel. 
To this end, we should see that Irenaeus isn’t really challenging the Marcionite separation of two collections of canonical writings – i.e. the Old and New Testaments.  Instead the controversy comes down to whether the Marcionites were right in thinking that the covenant of Jesus was separate and distinct from the covenant established between Abraham, Moses and the ancient Israelites.[8]  During the course of our investigation it will become self-evident that the elder fragment of 4.26.1 – 4.32.2 doesn’t quite fit this theme and is only superficially adapted to its present literary context.  The first couple of chapters in this section really don’t have anything to do with Marcion whatsoever. 
Indeed when Irenaeus in chapter 27 draws the reader’s attention to ‘what the elder said’ about the falling away of elders (veteribus) into lusts and sinfulness, it has the effect of startling the reader. From talking about Abraham and the covenants in chapter 25, the subject suddenly changes in chapter 26 to incorporate Book Three’s discussion of apostolic succession and apostolic doctrine.  As Irenaeus continues to cite from what appears to be a written testimony of this elder, his source eventually mentions figures from the Old Testament and demands that they be re-interpreted as ‘types.’  It is then that integration with the original anti-Marcionite polemic which started at the beginning of the book takes place.  But the process seems rather forced, confusing and ultimately contrived. 
It shall be our purpose here to demonstrate that while this reincorporation effort tells us a great deal about the Marcionites, this information does not come from the elder but Irenaeus himself – or perhaps the third century editor of this section.  The elder cannot be demonstrated to have directed any hostility against the Marcionites in these fragments or anywhere else for that matter.  The Marcionites were something of an afterthought for Irenaeus.  Most of his efforts seem to have been directed against the Valentinians and Florinus in particular.  While there are hostile references to Marcion in Adversus Haereses there are also acknowledgements that the beliefs of the sect are more ‘tolerable’ (3.12.8) than other sects.  If Tertullian’s Adversus Marcionem Books Four and Five are in fact developed from the work Irenaeus promises to develop against Marcion one can make the case that his consistent effort to appeal his interpretation of the gospel to that group implies there necessarily had to be more commonality between the traditions than often supposed.[9] 
Hill, however, would have us believe that the section in Book Four which contain the ‘collection of elder fragments’ (hereafter CEF) in 4.26.1 – 4.32.2 derive their origin from Polycarp of Smyrna.[10]  Polycarp is not only cited as the great opponent of Marcion but is usually assumed to be “a disciple of apostles, who heard and saw apostles and their disciples.” (4.27.1)  But was he really?  Did Irenaeus really believe that Polycarp’s teacher ‘John’ was an apostle or the elder of this name?  There is no real consensus on this question.  Culpepper confirms that Irenaeus was responsible for the confusion between the two Johns.[11]  But even here the question isn’t as straightforward as Culpepper and others describe.  They typically ignore that the term ‘the disciple of the Lord’ is already used by Papias to describe John the elder.[12]  Did Irenaeus merely take over a terminology which had different implications than we might expect from a plain reading of the text.  Moreover as we shall demonstrate throughout this work, the entire question of how faithfully the writings of Irenaeus were preserved also becomes a significant problem.[13] 
With our proposed ‘rediscovery’ of the original literary context for the CEF everything will suddenly make sense.  It should be evident that Irenaeus has Papias in mind throughout the whole section leading up to his explicit citation of the words of the elder which cement his identification with John the elder.  Indeed our proposed ‘original literary context’ was in fact first intimated by Hill and later echoed by Behr and at least a few others.  Hill makes reference to it in his treatment of the anti-Marcionite commentary in Adversus Haereses 4.30 and while he ultimately settles on Irenaeus’s lost treatise De Monarchia as the original source for much of the information, Moll drawing from the opinion of Brox and Loofs demonstrates the implausibility of Hill’s suggestion.[14] 
Indeed there are as noted earlier no shortage of ‘source criticism’ theories with respect to Book Four.  Bousset, Loofs, Quispel and many others have for instance argued that the section 4.36 – 41 derives from the writings of Theophilus of Antioch.  Yet the CEF (4.26 – 31) certainly belong with Adversus Haereses 3.3.1 – 3.4.1.  Indeed, as noted above, it was Hill who first notes that:
the string of presbyterial references in book 4 with which we are concerned occurs where Irenaeus is stressing the importance of obeying 'the presbyters who are in the church … who ... possess the succession from the apostleswho "have received the certain gift of truth" (4.26.2). Very probably he already expected his reader to make the connection with the men he had described in this way, and named, back in 3.3-4[MV1] , “have in mind men he had described in this way, and named, back in 3.3, that is, Linus, Anacletus, and Clement in Rome, and Polycarp in Smyrna.”[15] 
Behr merely repeats Hill’s original suggestion but Hartog adds the important observation that Irenaeus used the phrases 'as I have shown' (4.26.2) and 'as I have pointed out' (4.32.1) to point the reader back to the discussions in Book Three concerning the presbyters and apostles (see also the back—referencing in 4.32.2).[16] 
The point here is that Hill ultimately uses the connection between the two sections of text to further his thesis that Polycarp should be identified as the elder.  Nevertheless a careful consideration of the context for the section at the beginning of Book Three will ultimately make a better case for John – especially considering the fact that Irenaeus is drawing from Papias' elder and his statement regarding the relationship between the gospel of Mark and the logia of Matthew.  Irenaeus expands the reference to make it seem that Matthew’s gospel was written at the time ‘Peter and Paul preaching in Rome.’[17]  Yet as Watson notes “Irenaeus constructs a fourfold gospel out of passages in Papias which intend no such thing.”[18] 
The underlying question then necessarily comes down to whether we should understand the CEF to be connected to the beginning of Book Three by way of John or Polycarp?  The fact that the entire discussion of ‘apostolic tradition’ that follows is grounded in a statement of Papias’s ‘elder’ should settle the issue once and for all.  In other words, Irenaeus uses Papias, the hearer of John the elder, disciple of the Lord witness to the existence of a set of apostolic gospels.  Included in this set is the gospel attributed to John.  But Papias is unlikely to have used anything resembling a narrative gospel.[19]  This apparent difficulty, i.e. not only Irenaeus’s use of Papias to support the superiority of written over traditions but also the very testimony of the ‘elder’ is at the heart of the insoluble riddle which is the CEF.   
Papias provided Irenaeus with the building blocks used to justify his fourfold gospel.  The testimony comes out of the mouth of the very ‘elder’ who later is directly cited by Irenaeus to convince the Marcionites to come over to the ‘great Church.’  But Irenaeus was clearly ‘creative’ with his source material.  Of the four gospels, Papias only seems to have known ‘according to Mark’ and his reference hardly vouches for the canonical status for that text.  Moreover even though Papias apparently identifies ‘the elder’ with John, the CEF come from a source which make reference to him only as ‘the elder.’  In other words, there may well have been an apparent disconnect at the core of the document which contained the CEF - an original document we will henceforth refer to as ‘the Prescriptions Against the Sects’ (or simply ‘the Prescriptions’ ) via the testimony of Cyril of Jerusalem (cf. Ερηναος ξηγητς ν τος προστγμασι τος πρς τς αρσεις Catech. 16.6).[20] In other words, there may have been two different elders or two traditions from two separate communities related to the same elder which Irenaeus was attempting to fuse into one ‘apostolic tradition.’     
Indeed if Irenaeus could transform an original reference to the ‘logia of Matthew’ into a witness for the canonical gospel of Matthew we should not be surprised that ‘the elder John’ is similarly transformed into ‘the apostle John’ in the same section of text.  For Irenaeus tells us that after Luke “John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.”[MV2] [21]  In spite of the apparent difficulties Bauckham's expands on Martin Hengel's theory that the figure known as “John the Elder” was indeed the author of the Fourth Gospel.[22]  Our interest is much more limited in scope.  Irenaeus clearly developed this idea from the tradition that there was a gospel traditionally associated with the elder – not from Papias[MV3]  community but the community that produced the CEF which Irenaeus developed into the ‘gospel according to John.’[23] 
We should begin to see now that the Prescriptions – the document now split between the beginning of Book Three and Book Four (the latter which contained the CEF) – brought together two distinct traditions about ‘the elder.’  On the one hand, he clearly draws from the oral tradition of Papias regarding the relative value of at least two collection of written sayings about Jesus.  The other a written text called ‘the Elder’ which spoke on behalf of the value of ‘scriptures’ to keep the elders from falling into sin and made reference to a narrative gospel.  It should be apparent that Papias’s community was not the source of the written text associated with the elder as the community saw little value in scripture and preserved no narrative gospel.   Who then produced the ‘the Elder’ text used in the latter portion of the Prescriptions?  All that we can say for certain about its provenance at this moment is that it was adapted in Book Four as part the general appeal to the Marcionites. 
Why choose John become[MV4]  the spokesperson for the fourfold gospel?  The building blocks are almost all in place in Papias’s reference.  Aside from being the last of the gospels, John could be construed to have mentioned at least the other two of an original three volume set.  Luke may indeed have come as a later edition to the collection.[24]  It is enough to say that Irenaeus wanted above all else to use ‘the elder’ in his Prescriptions to the existence of a ‘tradition of the apostles’ in order to found a new type of ecclesiastical order grounded in the authority of elders.  He necessarily ran up against two important stumbling blocks however.  The first was clearly that John was not an apostle and the second Jesus was not an elder – that is, at least in the synoptic tradition he died in his thirtieth year.[25]  Both these difficulties were addressed in subsequent editorial manipulations of the written record – not only the gospels but other inherited written testimonies from various communities.
Let us stop for a moment and address the central question of how we can be certain that the text we have called the Prescriptions was the original context for the CEF – that is that that the section now identified as 4.26.1 – 4.32.2 immediately followed 3.1.1 – 3.4.1?  If we go back to our original argument we began by noting Hill and other’s recognition of similar language between the two sections.  Hartog made reference to the latter repeating ‘signaling’ – both implicitly and explicitly – ideas contained in the former.  Then we moved on to mention the familiar observation that the fourfold gospel at the beginning of Book Three necessarily depends on a gross misrepresentation of the testimony anonymous elder - the same anonymous elder who seems to be at the center of the material also found in Book Four. 
Indeed there is also a clear sense in the closing words of the CEF (4.32.1 – 2) that this elder knew of contemporary ‘elders’ who were redeemed by adhering to scripture after falling into sin.  Irenaeus uses this apparently written testimony as part of an appeal to contemporaries living in his own age as proof of the rule of following scripture as such.  The inference he wishes to draw is that the collection of never before seen writings he introduced to the world in the Prescriptions was not only known to the elder but that he himself highly valued scripture – the latter point was meant to ‘instruct’ the community of Papias (who valued the elder as a ‘living voice’ but did not associate him with any fixed set of writings, the former more than likely was directed against the Marcionites who had a fixed collection of scriptures but a different one from that ‘discovered’ by Irenaeus).
This original historical situation can finally be sort out by restoring the original ‘fault line’ from which first part of the Prescriptions (3.1.1 – 3.4.1) was severed from the other (4.26.1 – 4.32.2).  The end of the first half is found in 3.4.1 which reads:
since we have such (written) proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since the apostles, like a rich man [depositing his money] in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth [emphasis mine]: so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life. For she is the entrance to life; all others are thieves and robbers. On this account are we bound to avoid them, but to make choice of the thing pertaining to the Church with the utmost diligence, and to lay hold of the tradition of the truth. For how stands the case? Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary, [in that case,] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches?
This reference to ‘depositing money in a bank’ is clearly linked to Irenaeus’s allusion to “the written account of Christ … hidden in the field” that ‘is this world’ (Matt 13:44) at the beginning of the 4.26.1 which represents the other ‘severed half’ of his original Prescriptions:
If anyone, therefore, reads the writings with attention, he will find in them an account of Christ, and a foreshadowing of the new invitation (vocationis). For Christ is the treasure which was hid in the field, that is, in this world (for "the field is the world") … but when it is read by the Christians, it is a treasure, hid indeed in a field [emphasis mine], but brought to light by the cross of Christ, and explained, both enriching the understanding of men, and showing forth the wisdom of God and declaring His dispensations with regard to man, and forming the kingdom of Christ beforehand, and preaching by anticipation the inheritance of the holy Jerusalem, and proclaiming beforehand that the man who loves God shall arrive at such excellency as even to see God, and hear His word, and from the hearing of His discourse be glorified to such an extent, that others cannot behold the glory of his countenance, as was said by Daniel: "Those who do understand, shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and many of the righteous as the stars for ever and ever.'' Thus, then, I have shown it to be, if any one read the writings.
Given the parallels cited by others before us we will argue that the two cited sections likely followed one another in the lost original treatise we have identified as the Prescriptions written c. 177 CE.  This text – rather than the present material in Books Three and Four of Adversus Haereses - introduced to the world Irenaeus’s apostolic succession list, the fourfold gospel and Christian writings in general. 
The restored Prescriptions Against the Sects confirm that Irenaeus very much had in mind Papias and his original testimony about the elder.  Irenaeus was trying to overcome this community’s tradition distaste for written testimonies in order to control the kind of doctrines that were being promulgated in the name of ‘Christianity.’  Yet before we go down that road let us make one more observation about the ‘cutting up’ and ‘redistributing’ of original material in the writings of Irenaeus.  A great irony appears in the parallel situation we noted with respect to Tertullian’s Adversus Valentinianos and Book One of Adversus Haereses a little earlier.  As we already noted, the Latin text of Tertullian necessarily copied a lost original Greek lecture that Irenaeus gave ‘against the Valentinians’ but chapters 8 – 10 were unknown to Tertullian’s source and do not appear in his meticulous recopying of Irenaeus. 
Why is this significant?  Within this section of ‘new’ material now associated with Irenaeus we find the famous but ultimately puzzling reference to homerocentones to explain a strange pattern which manifested itself whenever the heretical gospels and their orthodox equivalent were placed side by side.  The author notes that the heretics were in the habit of collecting “a set of expressions and names scattered here and there” in other sources for the purpose of “twisting them, as we have already said, from a natural to a non-natural sense.”  In other words, this phenomenon was widespread of taking sections from an existing text and dividing it and scrambling the contents in order to get a new ‘desired’ outcome was commonplace in the second century.  It was so prevalent that the author (the editor? Irenaeus?) associates this activity with every sort of testimony – written or oral – in the contemporary age. 
Irenaeus immediately goes on to say that his enemies “in so doing, act like those who bring forward any kind of hypothesis they fancy, and then endeavour to support them out of the poems of Homer, so that the ignorant imagine that Homer actually composed the verses bearing upon that hypothesis, which has, in fact, been but newly constructed.”  But then something strange happens.  The author then strangely goes on to demonstrate how easy it is to bring new meaning to original passages through chopping them up and switching them out with others in a completely new arrangement – exposing him to the very charge he levels against his enemies, the heretics!  Like a magician proudly demonstrating a marvelous trick, the editor takes a few verses out of Homer to demonstrate his skill at transforming passages. 
His point, he says, is to demonstrate that “many” are misled by “the regularly-formed sequence of the verses, as to doubt whether Homer may not have composed them” and after showing how easy it is done he declares “now, what simple-minded man, I ask, would not be led away by such verses as these to think that Homer actually framed them so with reference to the subject indicated?”  One can almost envision this whole routing coming out of a bad movie where the confident criminal boasts to the investigating offer how easy it would be to carry out a crime and in the process throw suspicion on himself.   He continues again saying[MV5] :
But he who is acquainted with the Homeric writings will recognise the verses indeed, but not the subject to which they are applied, as knowing that some of them were spoken of Ulysses, others of Hercules himself, others still of Priam, and others again of Menelaus and Agamemnon. But if he takes them and restores each of them to its proper position, he at once destroys the narrative in question. In like manner he also who retains unchangeable in his heart the rule of the truth which he received by means of baptism, will doubtless recognise the names, the expressions, and the parables taken from the Scriptures, but will by no means acknowledge the blasphemous use which these men make of them. For, though he will acknowledge the gems, he will certainly not receive the fox instead of the likeness of the king. But when he has restored every one of the expressions quoted to its proper position, and has fitted it to the body of the truth, he will lay bare, and prove to be without any foundation, the figment of these heretics.
Yet we should immediately see that it is not as simple ‘blaming the heretics.’  The situation he describes here is strangely reminiscent of that described by the elder in the story told by Papias and that of Celsus with respect to the ‘remoulded’ gospel divided threefold and fourfold.[26] 
There are now clearly ‘shadow texts’ to every ‘orthodox’ document where the individual passages have now been shifted around into a different order.[27]  As the author puts it “they disregard the order and the connection of the Scriptures, and so far as in them lies, dismember and destroy the truth. By transferring passages, and dressing them up anew, and making one thing out of another, they succeed in deluding many through their wicked art in adapting the oracles of the Lord to their opinions.” He likens the situation to a beautiful mosaic made of jewels depicting a king should be rearranged by someone “and so fit them together as to make them into the form of a dog or of a fox, and even that but poorly executed; and should then maintain and declare that this was the beautiful image of the king which the skilful artist constructed, pointing to the jewels which had been admirably fitted together by the first artist to form the image of the king, but have been with bad effect transferred by the latter one to the shape of a dog, and by thus exhibiting the jewels, should deceive the ignorant who had no conception what a king's form was like, and persuade them that that miserable likeness of the fox was, in fact, the beautiful image of the king.” 
The author goes on to conclude that “in like manner do these persons patch together old wives' fables, and then endeavour, by violently drawing away from their proper connection, words, expressions, and parables whenever found, to adapt the oracles of God to their baseless fictions.”  Yet we can’t allow ourselves to simply take his word that when the gospels of the heretics and the orthodox take the appearance of ‘being out of order’ that it is attributable to the wicked men outside of the Church.  After all the author has already demonstrated himself to be adept at this insertion technique.  What’s more the writings of the early Church Fathers are filled with such transpositions of chapters and paragraphs – even the very writings of Irenaeus which make this bold accusation against the heretics demonstrates the very same pattern.  The more likely scenario is that the ‘centonizing’ of literary material was widespread in early Church and certainly included the very testimony which now makes this bold accusation ‘against the heresies.’
If we go back to our original discussion regarding the ‘connecting link’ between 3.4.1 and 4.27.1 after this lengthy digression, the restored Prescriptions now demonstrates Irenaeus to have discovered not only the apostolic succession list but also gospels supposedly mentioned in Papias’s original testimony about ‘the elder.’  Irenaeus’s reference in 4.26.1  - that when the ‘writings’ are “read by the Christians, it is a treasure, hid indeed in a field” - makes reference to the unusual Latinized Greek term Χριστιανοί which had very specific implications at the time he was writing.  Celsus identifies this as the correct identification for the followers of Jesus.[28]  But the origin of this terminology – as well as many of those describing the ‘bad’ sectarian communities in Latin is strange.  Certainly not all identified themselves as ‘Christians.’[29]  But when Irenaeus uses this terminology he certainly means members of ‘the great Church’– that is, those who assemble in a voluntary association sanctioned by the government of Commodus and read the authorized scriptures of the new covenant.[30] 
The underlying implication of this reconstituted section of text is that Irenaeus must have claimed that the scriptures associated with the apostles were formerly kept hidden by the heretical assemblies and only brought to light by Irenaeus’s recent actions.[31]  Hengel speaks in terms of a discovery in a vault and he may well be correct.’[32]  If we assume that the text of Irenaeus’s Prescriptions was to some extent preserved in Tertullian’s text of the same name, it is possible that we have before us the very means he managed to get access to this ‘vault’ - i.e. by means of a praescriptio.   This was a Latin legal term which implied that Irenaeus had won his claim against the ‘fallen elders’ who formerly presided over the Church an act which ‘restored’ the property of the apostles back to its rightful owners – i.e. the ‘great Church.’
Whether such a legal action was actually taken in the time of Commodus or was simply an allegory developed from his own imagination and transferred to ‘the Christian lawyer’ Tertullian can’t be answered here.  Let us take for granted the symbolic nature of the praescriptio for the sake of argument – i.e. something similar to that which now appears in De Praescriptione Haereticorum 37.[33]  Irenaeus ‘laid claim’ to the gospels hidden away secretly in the Church of Rome as a result of his ‘legal action’ immediately following the persecutions of 177 CE.  The important thing is that Irenaeus wants his audience to believe he found the very truths the unrighteous elders had ‘hidden’ from their duped believers and which ‘the elder’ referenced in the citation from Papias.  This is the real context of the restored document now divided between the beginning of Book Three and Book Four. 
Thus when we move forward to consider the first reference to what Irenaeus ‘heard (auditi) from a certain Elder’ we are immediately left in a quandary.  Could Irenaeus have really cited an oral tradition to negate the Christian community’s dependence on the ‘living voice’ of Christ?  The prospect seems unlikely given what is plainly written – that is, ‘hearing’ means ‘with the ears’ rather than the eyes.  However previous studies have not sufficiently considered the original literary context in which the statement was made.  Leaving aside what appears now in Book Three – viz. the ‘first part’ of the Prescriptions and the confirmation that the writings were left ‘in the bank vault’ of the church – we need only go back to Irenaeus’s original declaration still connected to the CEF in Book Four to understand the strange language used here. 
For in our last citation Irenaeus plainly says that that for the Christian who “reads the writings with attention … it is a treasure, hid indeed in a field … declaring His dispensations … and proclaiming beforehand that the man who loves God shall arrive at such excellency as even to see God, and hear His word, and from the hearing of His discourse be glorified to such an extent (emphasis mine).”  In other words, the experience of reading the written word of the elder is deliberately likened to hearing the ‘living voice.’   To a certain extent this can be explained by his frequent reference to scripture being ‘heard’ throughout the Adversus Haereses.[34] As such it should not be surprising that the nature of the citations of the elder has led many commentators make reference to the CEF in terms ofIrenaeus “possibly drawing on a written source, quotes ‘a certain elder’ on the interpretation of scriptural passages (Against Heresies 4.27.1–28.1, 30.1–31.1).”[35]
The underlying point is that Irenaeus has deliberately framed the seemingly dull experience of reading words on a page as still possessing the magic originally associated by Papias and his contemporaries with hearing the spirit.  In other words, Irenaeus has heard ‘the elder’ as scripture and he as an elder heard the testimony of the apostles.  We shall argue therefore that Irenaeus has selected a specific passage from a pre-existent written text associated with ‘the elder’ which specifically deals with the theme of the elders of the former generation kept the gospels and other sacred writings hidden away from the people.  What were the Christians doing all the while ignoring his alleged written sources?  They, heads of Papias’s actual tradition abided by the ‘living voice’ of Christ – that is watching people get ‘moved’ by the spirit and declaring new proclamations.  Irenaeus however was unhappy with this state of affairs and offered up what was clearly up until that point the traditional Marcionite emphasis on written scriptures.[36]
To this end, when we now go forward to engage our first fragment of the elder we see that above all else he stresses its value as a ‘correcting’ agent and more importantly as a means of reigning in the abuse of elders within the community:
As I have heard (auditi) from a certain elder, who had heard it from those who had seen the apostles, and from those who had been their disciples, the correction from the scriptures was sufficient for the elders (veteribus) in regard to what they did without the spirit’s guidance (de his quae sine consilio Spiritus egerunt, eam quae ex scripturis esset correptionem)
The understanding that this material has to do with the ‘ancients’ is only set up by the Latin translator’s rendering of the Greek πρεσβύτεροι in light of the overarching discussion of ‘two covenants’ in Book Four.[37]  The original context in the unified whole is immediately evident – Irenaeus was originally alluding to the excessive dependence on the ‘living voice’ at the expense of written documents led a great number of the most recent generation to fall away into heresy.
This original citation of ‘the Elder’ in Irenaeus’s original treatise was preceded by an extended reference to the theme of ‘the fall of the contemporary elders’ which Hill mostly ignored in his study.  Hill indeed at one point rejects the Latin reading of ‘presbyterii’ in favor of the singular presbyter by effectively ‘moving the goal posts’ from 4.26.1 to 4.27.1 and claiming no other examples of the plural.[38]  However it is here that the proper context of the fragments are to be found.  In other words, they clearly developed from the original contrast of ‘the elders’ of old – namely the apostles and their disciples – and the current disgraced group who allegedly hid the writings Irenaeus claims he found in the vaults of the Roman Church.
So it is that we read again in that ignored material from 4.26.1 (but which Hill admits properly belongs with the material in Book Three) that Irenaeus rails against:
[t]hose who are believed to be elders by many, but serve their own lusts, and, do not place the fear of God supreme in their hearts, but conduct themselves with contempt towards others, and are puffed up with the pride of holding the chief seat, and work evil deeds in secret … from all such persons, therefore, it behoves us to keep aloof, but to adhere to those who, as I have already observed, do hold the doctrine of the apostles (Apostolorum doctrinam), and who, together with the order of priesthood display sound speech and blameless conduct for the confirmation and correction of others (et cum presbyterii ordine sermonem sanum, et conversationem sine offensa praestant, ad conformationem et correptionem reliquorum). 
Indeed as we have just shown Hill’s effort to limit the discussion to determine the identity of the presbyter to 4.27 onward has the effect of losing sight of what Irenaeus was attempting to do by introducing never before seen written records into the broader Church.  We just need to compare the language here with that which eventually appears in his first citation of the elder.
Irenaeus was writing as the Church came out of a period of prolonged Imperial persecution.  The only treatise which tells us anything about those dark days was unfortunately also written by Irenaeus.[39]  Even from this account of the martyrs of Lyons and Vienne however we can see that the authorities identified those in leadership positions in the Christian community through exacting confessions from their slaves.  It can be argued that this experience raised questions about the elders or at least Irenaeus was eager to have those questions raised.  His purpose in citing the elder was clearly part of his effort to restore the written records allegedly established by the apostles in a former age.  After all the elder himself said those writings would help curb the excesses of the custodians of the faith. 
The sudden emergence of various συντάγματα in this age – after all even Celsus offers up a σύνταγμα to help Christians assist their living a better and more productive life[40] – develops as a consequence of Irenaeus’s ‘discoveries.’  Indeed Adversus Haereses grew from one such early text.[41]  To this end it is not at all surprising that we hear the repeated mention - both in Irenaeus’s ‘set up’ (4.26.2) and his eventual citation of the actual writing of the elder – of the claim that once the contemporary elders are exposed to the written ‘doctrine of the apostles’ their behavior will be corrected.  This was the original point of the text.  As such it would certainly seem that Irenaeus’s citation of the ‘elder fragment’ develops directly from the discussion about ‘apostolic tradition’ at the beginning of Book Three. 
For this book begins with the juxtaposition of various heretics who clearly hold positions of authority (and are thus ‘elders’ in some sense, and almost certainly the aforementioned ‘elders’ who serve their own lusts) and the authority of the apostolic tradition.  Irenaeus will later jump ahead to the idea that these wicked elders who now sit on their thrones and are now “confuted” from the newly ‘re-discovered’ writings.  But in Book Three it is only said that these fallen authorities “turn round and accuse these same writings, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition.”
In other words, we have to see that Irenaeus’s citation from the Elder has in mind the experience of the leaders confronted by his heroic rescue of the very documents they wanted hidden from public view.  As such the Church Father has in fact recast Papias’s appeal to oral tradition as sign of suspicion, as a proof that they are hiding from the truth.  So he continues that these wicked elders declare:
that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but viva voce: wherefore also Paul declared, ‘But we speak wisdom among those that are perfect, but not the wisdom of this world.’ And this wisdom each one of them alleges to be the fiction of his own inventing, forsooth” and again “when we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles (traditionem quae est ab apostolic), which is preserved by means of the succession of elders in the Churches (quae per successiones Presbyterorum in Ecclesiis), they object to tradition, saying that they themselves are wiser not merely than the elders, but even than the apostles, because they have discovered the unadulterated truth.
In other words, the wicked elders emphasis on oral tradition as ‘unadulterated truth’ is clearly juxtaposed a little later with the written apostolic doctrine as 'the certain gift of truth’ which as we have already seen Hill recognizes provides one important link between the two sections of the original lost treatise.
But again we have to emphasize, that it is unlikely that Irenaeus was introducing his apostolic succession list and the opinion of the elder specifically to oppose Papias.  Rather Papias’s preference for the ‘living voice’ of Christ was reflective of a broad segment of the Christian tradition and one that was actively opposed interestingly enough by Marcionitism.  Did Papias and the Marcionites venerate the same elder?  Did Irenaeus merely turn the written record of the Marcionite community and its association with an anonymous gospel, an anonymous apostle and an anonymous elder who clarified the writings of those other text against those who merely showed interest to revelations of the spirit?[42]   We will come back to this question a little later.
It is enough for us now to follow the remaining references to the presbyter that follow the one just cited.  The next reference that Hill wants us to believe is from the elder is clearly only Irenaeus’s application of the previous citation to the lengthy discussion of Solomon he has just developed.[43]  Similarly the allusion to Christ’s descent into the underworld is from Irenaeus not the elder.[44]  The usual line of reasoning for making this claim has to do an intimation of a Marcionite interest in such a descent. But the sect was by no means alone in this regard.  The Shepherd, Clement of Alexandria and Origen all testify the widespread appeal of such claims.[45] 
Indeed our next explicit citation from the elder appears only later in same chapter.  Irenaeus declares:
We ought not, therefore, as that presbyter remarks, to be puffed up, nor be severe upon the elders (veteres), but ought ourselves to fear, lest perchance, after the knowledge of Christ, if we do things displeasing to God, we obtain no further forgiveness of sins, but be shut out from His kingdom.”
The statement is immediately introduced by a reworked reference to “elders (veteres)” who are acknowledged to have sinned and followed the lusts of their heart and for whom “the Son shall come in the glory of the Father, requiring from His stewards and dispensers the money which He had entrusted to them, with usury; and from those to whom He had given most shall He demand most.”[46]  One can certainly make the case that this is yet another example of Irenaeus’s original interest in the contemporary fate of the ‘fallen elders’ being reworked to fit the context of Book Four’s interest in Patriarchs of the old covenant.[47]
Summarizing our findings then, we begin with Irenaeus’s first announcement that he has in his hand the very words of the beloved elder, and as a means of softening the jarring effect of having dead words on a page read to them, he cites these words as if they still contained the breath of life within them:
Irenaeus: As I have heard from a certain elder, who had heard it from those who had seen the apostles, and from those who had been their disciples, the correction from the writings was sufficient for the elders in regard to what they did without the spirit’s guidance
In other words, Irenaeus originally was introducing something radically new to the Christian community outside of Marcionitism.  The institutionalization of written witnesses provided a check against excesses of spiritualism.  This was then followed by a series of citations from this lost original work of the elder which can be reconstructed as:
Elder: We ought not, therefore to be puffed up, nor be severe upon the elders (veteres), but ought ourselves to fear, lest perchance, after the knowledge of Christ, if we do things displeasing to God, we obtain no further forgiveness of sins, but be shut out from His kingdom. With respect to those misdeeds for which the Scriptures themselves blame the patriarchs and prophets, we ought not to inveigh against them, nor become like Ham, who ridiculed the shame of his father, and so fell under a curse; but we should [rather] give thanks to God in their behalf, inasmuch as their sins have been forgiven them through the advent of our Lord; for he said that they gave thanks [for us], and gloried in our salvation. For if God had not accorded this in the typical exodus, no one could now be saved in our true exodus.  With respect to those actions, again, on which the Scriptures pass no censure, but which are simply set down [as having occurred], we ought not to become the accusers [of those who committed them], for we are not more exact than God, nor can we be superior to our Master; but we should search for a type. For not one of those things which have been set down in Scripture without being condemned is without significance. 
As we have just noted the original application of this passage was to use the words of the elder to serve as the basis for an offer of clemency on the part of the new regime headed by Irenaeus in the light of recent persecutions and purges within the ranks of the presbytery – viz. his point really came down to ‘if you accept the writings that were allegedly dug out of the vault in the Church of Rome, you have demonstrated your willingness to live according to the original apostolic doctrine, and thus you can keep your position of authority.’[48] 
In the end, Hill shared the same inclinations but ultimate rejected what his instincts were telling him with respect to the ‘elder fragments’ in 4.26.1 – 4.32.2 and the material at the beginning of the third book.  Perhaps at least part of the reason for the resistance to take things a step further has to do with a general distrust of the subjectivity of ‘source criticism’ (although Hill certainly engaged in some of this on his own).  Perhaps another reason might have been the impact that such a reconstruction might have had on his thesis that the elder was Polycarp.  In short – our restoration of the original passage broken up between the two books of Adversus Haereses necessarily makes it impossible to identify Polycarp as the elder. 
Indeed the most obvious difficulty is that the introduction of Polycarp in the Third Book clearly interrupts the natural progression from the last words of 3.3.3 to the beginning of 3.3.5.  At the end of the apostolic succession list the concluding words are:
And this is most abundant proof that there is one and the same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the Church from the apostles until now, and handed down in truth.
The ‘church’ here is clearly ‘the Church of Rome’ and the mention of Polycarp and the churches of Asia Minor are an interruption of what naturally follows in 3.3.5:
Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church, since the apostles, like a rich man [depositing his money] in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth: so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life
As such, when we look at what was obviously an original appeal for Roman primacy, Polycarp’s sudden introduction after the apostolic succession list seems wholly artificial and a secondary edition – developed perhaps at the time of Irenaeus’s handling of Victor’s expulsion of the churches of Asia Minor and his controversy with Florinus. 
In any event, the reality of the situation remains that Polycarp is little more than a mouthpiece of the elder in the second century landscape.  The new material nevertheless makes clear that it was John who first confronted Cerinthus, an elder whom Epiphanius dates back to the time of the apostles and bears a striking resemblance to the fallen elders of our reconstructed text.[49]  Polycarp’s rejection of Marcion develops as an imitation of John’s example in a former age.  Indeed the fact that Polycarp’s hostility toward Marcion makes Irenaeus’s second appeal to the very same words of the elder in the reworked portions 4.28 – 30 even more implausible.  Why would Marcionites care about the opinions of the man who condemned their beloved founder as the firstborn of Satan? 
Interestingly, Lightfoot points to a clear allusion to John 8:56 buried within our second last fragment of the elder and the words “for He said that they gave thanks [for us], and gloried in our salvation.”  Ferguson grasps the full significance of John in the context of the arguments in this chapter of Book Four – It is John, then, who teaches Irenaeus to envisage Abraham as a prophet who saw what was coming in God's oikonomia.”[50]  Indeed if it was John’s gospel which is critical to the central point of the narrative, it would only been natural to incorporate the ‘elder fragment’ at the climax of the argument in Book Four given that it deals with similar themes.
It would seem only natural to suggest that John is the ‘he’ referenced in the passage - for He said that they gave thanks [for us], and gloried in our salvation.”  Hill also sees a parallel between 4.26.3 and 3 John 9.[51]  Yet if we stop and think for a moment, the specific Hebrew terminology for ‘elder’ is zaqen (literally ‘old man’), which according to tradition denotes someone at least fifty years of age – the proper age for instructing the community.[52]  It must now be regarded as an incredibly coincidence that Irenaeus elsewhere appeals to John in the very next line of his gospel (John 8:57) to confirm that he reached this very same age when he was crucified:
Being thirty years old when He came to be baptized, and then possessing the full age of a magister,(i.e. fifty) He came to Jerusalem, so that He might be properly acknowledged by all as a magister. For He did not seem one thing while He was another, as those affirm who describe Him as being man only in appearance; but what He was, that He also appeared to be. Being a magister, therefore, He also possessed the age of a magister, not despising or evading any condition of humanity, nor setting aside in Himself that law which He had appointed for the human race, but sanctifying every age, by that period corresponding to it which belonged to Himself. For He came to save all through means of Himself--all, I say, who through Him are born again to God--infants, and children, and boys, and youths, and old men. He therefore passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants, thus sanctifying infants; a child for children, thus sanctifying those who are of this age, being at the same time made to them an example of piety, righteousness, and submission; a youth for youths, becoming an example to youths, and thus sanctifying them for the Lord. So likewise He was an old man for old men, that He might be a perfect magister for all, not merely as respects the setting forth of the truth, but also as regards age, sanctifying at the same time the aged also, and becoming an example to them likewise.
Irenaeus goes on not only to argue that John wrote the gospel to reflect the importance of being an elder but in his very example as an aged disciple of the Lord.[53]  He carried about in his person the living tabernacle of the community.  So Chrysostom and Dorotheus both reflect the understanding that John died during the reign of Trajan at one hundred and twenty years of age – thus implying that he was about fifty when he became an apostle!
Of course anyone who has ever read the original reference in Book Two has to ask himself - why does Irenaeus go to such lengths to defend a thoroughly absurd position with respect to the age of Jesus?  No tradition ever believed Jesus was fifty when crucified – not even the gospel associated with John.  Indeed it has to be acknowledged that John as it stands now was reshaped by the hand of Irenaeus.  He did this to open the door to his reconstitution of Christianity in 177 CE – i.e. by having the community ruled by ‘elders.’  Just look carefully at the conclusion to the passage that in “the fiftieth year a man begins to decline towards old age, which our Lord possessed while He still fulfilled the office of a Teacher, even as the Gospel and all the elders testify.”  In other words, the elders and the gospel of the elder testify to the fact that Jesus was an elder. 
This absolutely absurd position wasn’t just following the ‘traditional Jewish model’ insofar as having the gospel become the typology for having the community governed by a council of elders.  The section in Book Two makes absolutely clear that Irenaeus was encountering specific pushback from what we might call ‘the original understanding’ of Christianity which argued that Jesus came in the form of a youth appealing his messages to other youths.[54]  There is in fact absolutely no evidence that Papias and the original tradition of John saw any special significance to reaching old age.[55]  John was an elder because he just happened to be old.  Moreover, it seems unlikely that Papias and his tradition even cared very much about a formal gospel or the gospel of John in particular[MV6] .[56] 
What we should begin to see here is that it was Irenaeus who was building his church on the example of ‘John the elder’ even if the text of Adversus Haereses specifically avoids that appellation.  Papias cared about the ‘living voice’ of Jesus.  Irenaeus, was by contrast establishing a church of old age, built on a gospel of an aged Jesus, witnessed by an elder John and the council of elders that grew up around him.  None of these things had anything to do Papias.  This written testimony – no less than the document that made its way to Book Four could not have been original preserved in a community such as that associated with Papias which depreciated the value of the written gospel narrative.  Indeed when we search for a community which perfectly embodies the very argument embodied in this restored text – namely giving writings exclusive authority to decide matters within the Christian community – it would seem there could be no other choice but the followers of Marcion. 
Of course we aren’t used to thinking of the Marcionites sharing an interest in John with Papias[MV7] .  Indeed our understanding of who Marcion is has been entirely shaped by the repeated claim in various parts of Adversus Haereses and Tertullian which claim that the only gospel Marcion was interested in was Luke.  Leaving aside the testimony of the received text of Adversus Haereses however there is a great deal of other material which suggests that this might well have been a deliberate smokescreen to hide Irenaeus’s dependence on Marcionism to reshape the Christian community[MV8] 
One may suppose then that Irenaeus found the document called ‘the Elder’ in the vaults of the Marcionite church in Rome.  Indeed in a particularly interest and ultimately ignored Patristic source of information about the heresies.  Marutha of Meparkat (c 410 CE) in his On the Heresies makes mention of a book which replaced the Acts of the Apostles called by an inexplicable term in the surviving manuscripts in his name.[57]  Nevertheless Barhadbshabba Arbaya (600 CE) in his History of the Church preserves the proper title of the text - ‘the Elder.’[58]
It is difficult to know for certain what happened to this Marcionite text[MV9] .  Nevertheless we can trace the existence of something resembling this text being used in the orthodox churches.  At one point Tertullian acknowledge that “his faith at first agreed with ours, for his own letter proves it so that without further ado that man can be marked down as a heretic, or 'chooser', who, forsaking what had once been, has chosen for himself that which previously was not. For that which is of later importation must needs be reckoned heresy, precisely because that has to be considered truth which was delivered of old and from the beginning.”  Similarly in the fourth book of the same treatise Tertullian says that Marcion “once believed (in our faith). That was when in the first warmth of faith he presented the catholic church with that money which was before long cast out along with him after he had diverged from our truth into his own heresy. What now, if the Marcionites are going to deny that his faith at first was with us—even against the evidence of his own letter? What if they refuse to acknowledge that letter? Certainly Marcion's own Antitheses not only admit this, but even make a show of it.”
While most interpretations of this scenario seem to envision the Roman Church holding on to this letter of Marcion simply to goad their rivals the context we just saw allows for other interpretation.  Marcion is clearly described by Clement in terms of compatible with him being an elder at the time of this alleged ‘break’ with the Roman Church.  Bacon rightly points to a mostly ignored story in the Latin prologue of John which tells of “an encounter between Marcion and ' the Elders of Asia' in the period of Papias's enquiries.” [MV10]  Harnack further dated the information from this Latin prologue to pre-date Irenaeus with de Bruyne pretty much offering the same opinion.  Culpepper connects this historical framework with Tertullian's claim that “Marcion had already been condemned in John's Gospel and letters.” 
The Latin prologue to John is thus an extremely significant resource to help open the door to the possibility that the written tradition associated with ‘the elder’ may well have originated with the Marcionite community.  The testimony is indeed difficult to make sense of as they stand now.  Lightfoot has looked to solve the anomalies in the text by assuming that "Papias may have quoted the Gospel 'delivered by John to the churches, which they wrote down from his lips' (ho apegrapson apo tou stomatos autou); and some later writer, mistaking the ambiguous apegrapson (which can mean either "they wrote" or "I wrote"), interpreted it, 'I wrote down,' thus making Papias himself the amanuensis.
The Gospel of John was revealed and given to the Churches by John whilst he was still alive in his body, as Papias, called the Hierapolitan, the beloved disciple of John, has reported in his five books of “Exegetics".  (he who) wrote down the Gospel, John dictating correctly the true (evangel), (was) Marcion the heretic.  Having been disapproved by him for holding contrary views, he was expelled by John. He had, however, brought him writings, or letters, from the brethren who were in the Pontus
The only thing that Eisler’s repunctuation changes is the question of whether or not Marcion or Papias was the secretary for his gospel.  Eisler reasoned that Papias could not have been John's scribe, or else Eusebius would surely have seized on this fact.   Indeed Culpepper demonstrates that this idea is not nearly as outlandish as one might think.  He notes that “in a corruption of a report that Marcion met with the elders of Asia, the Codex Toletanus — a late Spanish manuscript containing prologues to the Gospel of John — actually reports a meeting between Marcion and the apostle John.
Indeed as noted above this is only one of a number of clues to the ignored connection between the Johannine tradition and Marcion –others include Origen’s reference to the sect’s interest in the Paraclete and Marcus the Marcionites’s approval of material derived from the first letter of John in De Recta in Deum Fide.[59]  More importantly perhaps we find in 3.11.2 that the gospel of John can demonstrate the errors of the heretics including Marcion.  Indeed the heretic is strangely cited first in a list of heresies who are refuted by John’s text.[60]  So too the curious statement from De Carne Christi – “If you (Marcion) had not maliciously rejected some and corrupted others of the scriptures which oppose your views, the Gospel of John would in this matter have put you to rout when it proclaims that the Spirit in the body of a dove glided down and settled upon our Lord.”  But perhaps more interesting is the observation that both Marcion and John seem to both have suffered rejection at the hands of the ‘elders of Rome.’ 
Gaius is identified by Photius as ‘an elder of the Church of Rome at the time of Victor and Zephyrinus the high priests, and who was ordained bishop of the Gentiles’ (Biblioth. 48).  His opposition to John couldn’t have emerged overnight.  In other words, this must have been reflective of a broader tradition as ‘John’ wasn’t a newly invented commodity.  It is therefore interesting that ‘John’ should be opposed by an important member of the community who rose to prominence c 189 – 199 CE just as Marcion is said to have been rejected by elders in Rome c. 159 – 168 CE.  Is it really likely that the Roman community’s opposition to John at the end of the second century was completely unrelated to that associated with Marcion when Gaius was a much younger man? 
Epiphanius’s account of Marcion’s encounter[MV12]  with the ‘elders of Rome’ draws from the episcopal list which appears in Adversus Haereses 3.3.1. “[Marcion] arrived at Rome itself after the death of Hyginus, the bishop of Rome.  Hyginus was ninth in succession from the apostles Peter and Paul. Meeting the elders who were still alive and had been taught by the disciples of the apostles, he asked for admission to communion, and no one would grant it to him. Finally, seized with jealousy since he could not obtain high rank besides entry into the church, he reflected and took refuge in the sect of that fraud, Cerdo.”  Notice at once that “the elders who were still alive [who] had been taught by the disciples of the apostles’ seems to vaguely resemble the introduction of Polycarp in 3.3. In the discussion that follows Marcion cites from Matthew demonstrating that the tradition was older than later re-constitution of the Marcion myth which makes him exclusively employ Luke.
As there is now discovered to be a great deal of material which circumstantially connected John – originally called ‘elder’ by Papias – to Marcion is it really such a crazy idea to suggest that the two might have been the same person[MV13] ?  It certainly would follow the pattern of generic names in the Marcionite canon ‘the gospel,’ ‘the apostle’ and ‘the elder.’  But perhaps we can push things even one step further.  [MV14] When we look again at Papias’s oral tradition that ‘the Elder’ told him that Mark wrote his gospel ‘as best he could’ from the logia of Matthew we have been conditioned to think in terms of one person named ‘John’ saying this about another person named ‘Mark.’  But there is a well-established tradition that the John who was a companion of both Peter and Paul in Acts was also called Mark. 
No one seems to have a clear idea who this ‘John who was also called Mark.’  The Acts of Mark tradition identifies him as one and the same with the evangelist and this seem natural.  But this certainly wasn’t Papias’s tradition nor Marcion’s for that matter.  The latter rejected Acts out of hand.  While it is difficult making sense of matters here when we know so little about what either Papias or the Marcionites believed to be true.  We are really dealing with wisps of facts and information.  Nevertheless it does seem curious that when Papias references his ‘elder’ referencing Mark we could be dealing with two Marks – one described as senior in relation to the other.  Is it at all curious that the name Μαρκίων derives from the Latin "Marcus" and represents the exact inverse of the implications of another Mark described as ‘Mark the senior’?
As the epigraphist Adam Lajtar once explained in Greek, especially in the Post-Classic period, ίων is a very productive nominal formant, used also in constructing personal names. Lajtar notes “the formant is simply added to the root irrespective of the fact if the root ends in a consonant or a vowel. As far as personal names are concerned, the ίων formant is frequently added to a thephoric element, thus Ἀπολλων-ίων, Δίων (from Δι-ίων), Σαραπ-ίων, Ἁνουβ-ίων, Δημητρ-ίων, Μην-ίων, Ἀρ-ίων, etc. The ίων formant has somewhat diminutive meaning, thus Ἀπολλων-ίων actually means "The small Apollo" (in the sense: "He is like Apollo"), Δίων - "The small Zeus.”  In a similar manner then Μαρκίων can be analyzed as Μαρκ-ίων, "The small Marcus" ("the one who is like Marcus"). The name may refer to a person with the name Marcus, e.g. the father of the man who bears the name Μαρκίων or as is often the case a senior monk described in relation to a junior. 
In the end the question might well boil down to whether Irenaeus attempted at the very beginning of his career to use the writings associated with the ‘elder’ who was called ‘John’ by one group who only remembered his oral sayings and ‘Mark’ by another who steadfastly held on to his writings.  The two groups disagreed perhaps on their mutual identification of the same individual by different names and so – ‘the elder’ became the common fault line by which they could interact with another.  Indeed Papias’s memory of the impression of the elder with a work attributed to ‘Mark’ becomes little more tha a rejection of any written record of the apostles.  ‘He did the best he could’ can be seen as little more than sour grapes on the part of Papias and his community.  ‘Marcion brought letters from Pontus’ is the first memory that the Marcionite tradition was the first community to preserve written records of the apostles. 
When Ireneaus decided to make public his ‘discovery’ of all the documents that the Church of Rome (which may well have been traditionally Marcionite) allegedly ‘hid’ from the people, a number of things needed to take place in order to ensure their widespread acceptance.  He couldn’t be seen as siding with the former Marcionites, thus their tradition already well-established in terms of venerating the ‘elder’ as Mark (Philosophumena 7.18) became ‘the Marcionites’ in order to distinguish them from their real master.  While Irenaeus did employ at least one of the many texts which made up their ‘elder’ collection (compare the use of ‘apostle’ to describe many writings of Paul) the name fell into disuse after Irenaeus and the shadowy figure was henceforth identified as ‘John’ often times without the ‘elder’ to remind people he was not the man of the same name who appeared in the gospel. 
Under such a scenario the identification of the ‘elder’ by the name ‘John’ rather than ‘Mark’ would appear to be something of a victory for the tradition of Papias and Polycarp . But if there was a victor, that person really could only be described as being Irenaeus in such a scenario.  Irenaeus triumphed over all his contemporaries because he was shrewd and thanks to him and the clever repackaging of his writings by the unnamed editor of Adversus Haereses we have discovered yet another unrecognized ancient text. 

[1] De I'ancienne a la nouvelle Alliance selon S. Irenee: Unite du livre IV de I'Adversus Haereses
[2] F. Loofs, Theophilus von Antiochien adversus Marcionem und die anderen theologischen Quellen bei Irenaeus, Texte und Untersuchungen, Vol. XLVI. 2. Leipzig, 1930.
[3] A. Brent, Hippolytus and the Roman Church in the Third Century (Leiden: Brill, 1995).
[4] Tertullian’s use of Irenaeus the ‘eager discoverer of all doctrines (of the Valentinians)’ (Adv Valent. 5) in his own treatise Adversus Valentinianos is better fits an earlier lecture against the Valentinians rather than direct knowledge of Adversus Haereses Book One.  The conclusion of the latter derives from the material used at the beginning of Adv. Valent.  Adv Valent uses the same material from chapters 1 – 7 and 11 – 12 but does not know 8 – 10.  
[5] He credits Irenaeus with knowing all their doctrines (see above) but doesn’t inform his reader that he is copying whole sections of his work. 
[6] The use of large parts of De Carne Christi in Against Marcion III is yet another example of the complete transformation of original source material (i.e. cutting it up into pieces and scattering around the body of a new text). 
[7] S Moll, the Arch-Heretic Marcion p. 19
[8] Cf. Adversus Haereses 4.15.2 “And not only so, but the Lord also showed that certain precepts were enacted for them by Moses, on account of their hardness, and because of their unwillingness to be obedient, when, on their saying to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give a writing of divorcement, and to send away a wife?" He said to them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts he permitted these things to you; but from the beginning it was not so;" thus exculpating Moses as a faithful servant, but acknowledging one God, who from the beginning made male and female, and reproving them as hard-hearted and disobedient. And therefore it was that they received from Moses this law of divorcement, adapted to their hard nature. But why say I these things concerning the old covenant (veteri testamento)? For in the New also are the apostles found doing this very thing, on the ground which has been mentioned, Paul plainly declaring, But these things I say, not the Lord." And again: "But this I speak by permission, not by commandment." And again: "Now, as concerning virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful."  But further, in another place he says: "That Satan tempt you not for your incontinence." If, therefore, even in the new covenant (novo testamento), the apostles are found granting certain precepts in consideration of human infirmity, because of the incontinence of some, lest such persons, having grown obdurate, and despairing altogether of their salvation, should become apostates from God,--it ought not to be wondered at, if also in the old covenant the same God permitted similar indulgences for the benefit of His people, drawing them on by means of the ordinances already mentioned, so that they might obtain the gift of salvation through them, while they obeyed the Decalogue, and being restrained by Him, should not revert to idolatry, nor apostatize from God, but learn to love Him with the whole heart.”  Clearly as Knox has already noted in reference to the preservation of the Marcionite debates the Latin terminology obscured the original sense of the Greek records. Moll’s claim (p 19) that the Marcionites only directed their criticism at the god of the Jews not Moses and the Hebrews is plainly false (cf. Adv Marc 2.27).  We should also consider Apelles the Marcionites’s identification of ‘the fiery angel’ as Jesus.  The Marcionite position was clearly the same as the sectarian Jewish position recorded in rabbinic texts (cf. A. Heschel, Theology of Ancient Judaism, 2.353-56, especially 354 citing R. Shimon ben Laqish's interpretation of "And I [God] will give you the tablets of stone, and the law and the commandments I have written Ex 24:12, as cited by Heschel, 354: God did not write the Torah [except for the Ten Commandments]. According G. Vcrmes, "The Decalogue and the Minim," B£A W 103 (1968) 232-40). The problem is only that the monarchian emphasis of Irenaeus refracts the actual implications of Marcionism in predictable ways. 
[9] This phenomenon goes beyond Adversus Haereses Book Four and Tertullian’s Adversus Haereses.  Mackenzie (Iain M. MacKenzie, Irenaeus's Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching:A Theological Commentary and Translation Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2002) calls attention to the name of the addressee in this work i.e. Marcianos noting that this appellation “could have been employed as a personalized representation for the purpose of addressing the work to a particular body of persons - the Marcianoi, the appellation used by Justin Martyr for the followers of the heretic Marcion. That the argument of this work could be directed towards persuading perhaps hesitant followers of Marcionism may be supported (though there is no direct attack on that heresy in the Demonstration) by several emphases of Irenaeus implying a criticism of that heretical scheme.” (p.37)  Many of the arguments he identifies there are very similar to those we will encounter in the aforementioned texts.  All of which, when couples with the repeated identification of the ‘Jewishness’ of Marcion (cf. Vinzent 'Marcion the Jew', Judaisme Ancien 1 2013, 159-201) might argue for historical Marcionism to more closely resemble the beliefs associated with Apelles rather than the ‘straw man’ caricature of ‘Marcionism’ that emerged in third century tomes. 
[10] C E Hill,. From the Lost Teaching of Polycarp. Identifying Irenaeus' Apostolic Presbyter and the Author of "Ad Diognetum" Mohr Siebeck 2006
[11] R A Culpepper John the Son of Zebedee p. 299
[12] Eusebius Hist. Eccl. 3.39.15-16
[13] This extends beyond the immediate question of the role of the editors of Adversus Haereses but also to the scribes who transcribed and translated that original text into other languages as the original Greek is for the most part lost. The Latin and Armenian translations disagree at the critical juncture where Irenaeus introduces ‘the elder’ to his audience making it impossible to be certain about anything said about the elder in what follows.  Hill makes it seem as if there universal agreement with respect to the Armenian reading.  However Moll (p. 20) demonstrates that while the Sources Chretiennes (1965) have adapted to the Armenian translation of the passage, whereas the Fontes Christiani (1995) stick to the Latin version.
[14] Moll p. 20.  Norbert Brox, Offenbarung, Gnosis und gnostischer Mythos bei Irenaus von Lyon, Salzburg: Anton Pustet, 1966, p. 146-148; Loofs, Theophilus, p. 310. Moll notes that Brox is strikingly missing from Hill's index of authors. Let us begin by noting that Irenaeus’s opponents are not specifically named in 4.28 – 30.  Nevertheless there can be little doubt that they were Marcionites.  How then could this section have derived its origin from De Monarchia when that letter was directed against Florinus and the Valentinians not the Marcionites?  Hill’s efforts to make sense of the elder fragment sees him continually ‘move the posts’ of the discussion to suit the separate components of the existing discussion within the section making reference to the fragment.  Here he wants us to consider De Monarchia but at another point in his discussion he appeals for us to ignore 4.26 and see that as somehow ‘separate’ from the main body of material.[14]  The only way to make sense of the constantly ‘shifting’ application of a series of fragments which betray remarkable consistency to each other is to suggest that the addition of the material was something of an afterthought or was done haphazardly.
[15] CE Hill p. 23
[16] J Behr Irenaeus of Lyons Identifying Christianity (Oxford University Press 2013) p. 62; P Hartog Polycarp's Epistle to the Philippians and the Martyrdom of Polycarp (Oxford University 2013) p. 19
[17] Adversus Haereses 3.3.1.
[18] F Watson Gospel Writing: A Canonical Perspective (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013) p. 258
[19] Papias's remarks is a term that normally refers to “sayings” or “oracles” and is not naturally attached to an entire narrative Gospel.  Many associate his statements with a text like Q cf. C L. Blomberg Jesus and the Gospels p. 154f
[20] The reasons for identifying the text as a ‘praescriptionem’ and thus in the same genre as Tertullian’s text of the same name will be demonstrated below. 
[21] Adversus Haereses 3.1.1
[22] M Hengel The Johannine Question, trans. John Bowden (Philadelphia: Trinity Press International, 1989)
[23] Given the obvious misrepresentations in the section – it is of little historical value in and of itself to anything Irenaeus says about the gospel other than to trace the development of creativity. 
[24] Careful attention should be noted to Adversus Haereses 3.9.1’s addition of ‘so also Luke’ to a section dealing with Matthew but which highlights the uniqueness of each gospel from one another.  The reference may be identified as a gloss to correct the original reference to a formerly unique passage in Matthew now that Luke was accepted into the canon.  Similarly Luke is forced into an unnatural position after Matthew and before Mark owing to both texts containing a birth narrative.  The original text likely dealt with only Matthew, Mark and John in that order.  Indeed Irenaeus has just finished saying that Mark developed from Matthew at the beginning of the book (3.1.1) and the ending of the section on Matthew necessarily flows naturally into the beginning of the section dealing with Mark - “Wherefore also Mark, the interpreter and follower of Peter, does thus commence his Gospel narrative”
[25] Cf Adversus Haereses 2.22 for a full discussion.  Notice that the heretics “while affirming that they have found out the mysteries of God, they have not examined the Gospels …”
[26] Contra Celsum 2.27 “that certain of the Christian believers, like persons who in a fit of drunkenness lay violent hands upon themselves, have corrupted the Gospel from its original integrity, to a threefold, and fourfold, and many-fold degree, and have remodelled it (μεταπλάττειν), so that they might be able to answer objections.”  Metaplasm necessarily implies a change of shape. 
[27] We should consider also here Adversus Marcionem’s comment in the preface of many different versions of the text some being held in the hands of heretics. 
[28] Cf. Contra Celsum 1.26
[29] Moreover if we consider for a moment the early use of the term ‘Christians’ which follows, we should not ignore the obvious sectarian implications of this term.  Epiphanius specifically identifies the earlier texts of Acts making reference to members of the Jesus community as Eeshim. 
[30] Contra Celsum 1.1; 5:59
[31] This original emphasis on the significance of written testimonies is now flatly rejected in the material which appears after 3.4.1 in Book Three. This was deliberately developed by the editor to fill the hole left by the departure of the CEF.  What now immediately follows this section interestingly takes the exact opposite point of view.  In other words, the editor writing long after the written material ‘discovered’ by Irenaeus had been reincorporated into the Church contradicts his original emphasis on written sources and points instead to certain barbarians “who believe in Christ do assent, having salvation written in their hearts by the Spirit, without paper or ink, and, carefully preserving the ancient tradition.” (3.4.2)  This allusion was clearly a reaction against the implications of Irenaeus’s original efforts to define Christianity by written testimonials.  It now speaks in terms of those who “in the absence of written documents, have believed this faith, are barbarians, so far as regards our language; but as regards doctrine, manner, and tenor of life, they are, because of faith, very wise indeed.” (ibid)  Clearly the contradiction with the original material is obvious.  It was deliberately inserted after the break in the discussion because Irenaeus’s original assertion was highly controversial at the time.  At the time Irenaeus was writing Papias’s emphasis on the ‘living voice’ of Christ was earlier developed into a danger sign of heresy.  This wasn’t restricted to the fact that he wanted to get in touch with eyewitnesses.  He describes Aristion and John the elder as ‘disciples of the Lord’ which apparently put them on equal footing with actual eyewitnesses.  In short it would stand to reason that Papias’s attitude was connected with the broader belief in the community of Christians that Jesus was still speaking through chosen disciples.  The Montanists were only the most famous – and longest lasting -manifestation of this original paradigm.  The Marcites maintain a prophetic interest as did the Marcionites and Valentinians.  Irenaeus’s emphasis on written records could be construed as an anti-spiritualist tendency and so the barbarian reference was inserted immediately following the break.  Once Irenaeus’s newly discovered documents were accepted into the community and established as the abiding testimonies of the apostles in all the churches a new set of concerns could be addressed – even the problem of being too literal or literate!
[32] M Hengel The Four Gospels and the One Gospel of Jesus Christ p. 27 Irenaeus, or probably the Roman archive, is amazingly well informed about the circumstances and chronological order of the composition of the Gospels.”  See also his Saint Peter p. 109 where he repeats the claim with respect to the same passage in Irenaeus.   What we see developing from the re-integration of 3.1.1 – 3.4.1 to 4.27.1 – 4.32.2 is the recognition of Papias’s influence within the early Church.  Book Three starts as we have noted, with a modification – or ‘clarification’ – of what Papias records as ‘what the Elder used to say.’   Yet this has always been a difficulty as long as we have had only half of the original treatise.  Why indeed did the Christian world accept his reworking version of a slightly different scenario developed in the pages of Papias?  We should turn around the question and suggest rather provocatively that Irenaeus would have welcomed the dilemma caused by his explicit citation of an elder who had only been known through vague recollections of an allegedly ‘simple-minded’ elder.  By challenging traditional assumptions – any assumptions based on vague assumptions and memories – Irenaeus in the process raised the value of written documents.  For they alone provided certainty as to what the apostles said or believed. 
[33] Si enim haeretici sunt, christiani esse non possunt, non a Christo habendo quod de sua electione sectati haereticorum nomine admittunt.  Ita non christiani nullum ius capiunt christianarum litterarum ad quos merito dicendum est: ' Qui estis? quando et unde uenistis?  quid in meo agitis, non mei? quo denique, Marcion, iure siluam meam caedis? qua licentia, Valentine, fontes meos transuertis? qua potestate, Apelles, limites meos commoues ?  mea est possessio, Quid hic, ceteri, ad uoluntatem uestram seminatis et pascitis? Mea est possessio, olim possideo, prior possideo, habeo origines firmas ab ipsis auctoribus quorum fuit res.  Ego sum heres apostolorum. Sicut cauerunt testamento suo, sicut fidei commiserunt, sicut adiurauerunt, ita teneo.  Vos certe exheredauerunt  semper et abdicauerunt ut extraneos, ut inimicos'.
[34]who do also hear Moses and the prophets announcing the coming of the Son of God” (4.2.4.), “because they could allege proofs from the Scriptures, and because they, who were in the habit of hearing Moses and the prophets” (4.24.1)  One wonders how Irenaeus would describe reading “these things [which] are bone witness to in writing by Papias, the hearer of John, and a companion of Polycarp, in his fourth book; for there were five books compiled (suntetagmena) by him”? (5.33.4)  Would he describe himself ‘hearing’ the word of John or ‘reading’ them? 
[35] J Lieu I II III John: A Commentary p. 242 and again 'The identity of Irenaeus's Elders and other authorities remains a mystery, as too does their number and whether he cites them from oral or written sources” J Lieu, Image and Reality: The Jews in the World of the Christians in the Second Century (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1996) p. 250.  Beyond Harvey’s suspicion that Irenaeus wrote in Syriac there is a repeated Coptic identification of Irenaeus as an author with a specifically Jewish background (cf. Roelof van den Broek, Pseudo-Cyril of Jerusalem, On the Life and the Passion of Christ. A Coptic Apocryphon (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae, 118), Leiden-Boston: Brill 2013 p. 118).  Indeed it should be remembered that most believers, even those in highly literate cultures, hear scripture in worship more often and more meaningfully than they read it privately. But we will demonstrate that the allusion also echoes a statement later in the fragments of elder making specific reference to John 8:56 and its reworking of Abraham’s experience of seeing Jesus and hearing his voice at the oaks of Mamre – i.e. the correspondence between Abraham's hospitality in Genesis 18 and John 8:39 and between laughter in Gen 18:12-15 and John 8:56
[36] The experience that Irenaeus was proposing clearly must have seemed a lot less exciting to those of Papias’s tradition – in a nutshell, sitting around hearing ‘old’ written texts.  So in our last fragment is to frame the experience of listening to ‘dead texts’ in terms of the traditional interest in ‘living voice.’  In other words glorification emerges from the hearing of the written word but more importantly there is no chance of someone going astray. 
[37] While some have attempted to take veteres to mean ‘the ancients’ or the prophets of the Jews, the underlying context does not allow for that here.  Luthardt points to the use of veteres in 3.23.3 to note that the Latin translation of Irenaeus, which probably arose in his own day, renders πρεσβύτεροι (' elders ') by 'veteres' (' men of old ')“ and 'seniores' (' elders ')," or used alternately with it“ ' quidam ante nos ' ('certain before our day').  As such the immediate context seems to be those corrupt elders again who either ‘hid’ or ‘deposited’ the written records of the apostles.  The use of this saying from Luke was likely disputed.    It would seem that the elder is here making reference to contemporary elders who are to be protected from judgment.  This is certainly connected back to the prophets of old by means of the final two allusions to the writings of the elder.  All we have to see is that Irenaeus or the editor of Adversus Haereses has inverted the order of the last two fragments for a very specific purpose.
[38] cf. Hill p. 19
[53] not in the conclusion of this discussion – i.e. that “fiftieth year a man begins to decline towards old age, which our Lord possessed while He still fulfilled the office of a Teacher, even as the Gospel and all the elders testify; those who were conversant in Asia with John, the disciple of the Lord, [affirming] that John conveyed to them that information
[54] If ‘forty and fifty’ are for Irenaeus ‘old’ then thirty was ‘youth’ (see citation above). 
[55] Cf. Tertullian Praescriptionem XL “Ordinationes eorum temerariae, leues, inconstantes. Nunc neophytos conlocant … Itaque alius hodie episcopus, cras alius; hodie diaconus qui cras lector; hodie presbyter qui cras laicus. Nam et laicis sacerdotalia munera iniungunt.”
[56] This is Culpepper’s observation with respect to the Gospel of John certainly – “Neither Papias nor his sources reveal any interest in the Fourth gospel.” p 299.  If not John then what gospel could they be associated with. 
[60] John, however, does himself put this matter beyond all controversy on our part, when he says, "He was in this world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own [things], and His own [people] received Him not." But according to Marcion, and those like him, neither was the world made by Him; nor did He come to His own things, but to those of another. And, according to certain of the Gnostics, this world was made by angels, and not by the Word of God. But according to the followers of Valentinus, the world was not made by Him, but by the Demiurge … while the Gospel affirms plainly, that by the Word, which was in the beginning with God, all things were made, which Word, he says, "was made flesh, and dwelt among us."  But, according to these men, neither was the Word made flesh, nor Christ, nor the Saviour (Soter), who was produced from all. For they will have it, that the Word and Christ never came into this world … Therefore the Lord's disciple, pointing them all out as false witnesses, says, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us."

 [MV1]is this a duplication of what follows immediately?
 [MV2]For this see mz notes on the incipit in Iohannem which refers to Papias and gives us the background information to the publishing of the Gospel – and his dissens with Marcion because of his Antitheses and Marcion’s own Gospel (see my Marcion and the Dating of the Synoptic Gospels)
 [MV3]indeed from Papias
 [MV4]is this grammatically correct?
 [MV5]give the precise reference to what follows.
 [MV6]You may re-assess this in the light of the Incipit that I mentioned above.
 [MV7]Exactly such interest you will find in the Incipit.
 [MV8]I fully agree – you will find support in my Marcion and the Dating ..., just read my section on Irenaeus.
 [MV9]You will also see that I suggest in my Marcion and the Dating that ‘the Elder’ is somebody from the entourage of Marcion (despite his criticism of Marcion)
 [MV10]This is the Incipit, I mentioned before, but note my edition – the text had been badly dealt with by previous scholars.
 [MV11]Check my re-assessment of this text where I side with Eisler, but remove a few of his mistakes.
 [MV12]Given what we know of Epiphanius, I would not trust historical information from him.
 [MV13]not crazy, but I feel it is a stronger argument, if you keep them separate, but see ‘the elder’ as a person close to Marcion, but also critical of him.
 [MV14]From here onwards you get into speculations which differ in depth and precision from what you have done before. I suggest, you cut this part off and develop it in a future paper. This one where you try to show how to position the ‘Elder’ is long enough anyway.

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