Sunday, January 1, 2017

Reasons Why No One Should Believe that Epiphanius Had the Marcionite Bible in His Possession

1. Epiphanius has a pattern of not acknowledging he is using earlier sources.  Of course he admits to drawing upon Irenaeus for his information about the Valentinians - 'blessed Irenaeus' he calls him.  But this was a well known source.  He couldn't get away with that one.  But the pattern of lifting verbatim passages from Hegesippus speaks to a broader problem of Epiphanius not telling us what are his sources.  If, as we believe, Epiphanius has lifted his information about the Marcionite Bible from second and third century literary sources rather than having the Bible 'at hand' we'd never know.
2. Epiphanius is a 'fool and a demon.'  Well not quite, but he tells a lot of lies as Ehrman and others have demonstrated.  When he claims to have the Marcionite canon 'at hand' he is merely trying to obscure the truth - viz. that he compiled a list of textual variants from second and third century Church Fathers writing about Marcion.
3. Epiphanius never published an actual 'treatise' (συντάξεως) on the subject of Marcion's Bible.  This to me is the most puzzling part of the whole situation.  The Panarion is now the treatise (συντάξεως) - indeed a massive tome - which comes out of an original request to publish something on Marcion.  He repeatedly identifies the Panarion as a συντάξεως (cf. Section 8 on the Samaritans).  The two Syrian monks originally request a συντάξεως written about Marcion presumably because they want to identify heretical monks in their presence.  Epiphanius spends a lot of time composing an 'outline' toward the possible completing of such a συντάξεως - cf. "I made a series of extracts and selections (παρ' αὐτῷ ἐξανθισάμενος καὶ ἀναλεξάμενος καθ' εἱρμὸν) of the material which would serve to refute him (τὰ ἐλέγξαι αὐτὸν δυνάμενα), and I wrote a sort of outline (ἐδάφιόν τι συντάξεως ἐποιησάμην) for a treatise (ἀκολούθως τάξας), arranging the points in order, and numbering each saying one, two, three (κεφάλαια καὶ ἐπιγράψας ἑκάστῃ ῥήσει ˉα ˉβ ˉγ). And in this way I went through all of the passages (καὶ οὕτως ἕως τέλους διεξῆλθον or perhaps 'I went through until the end ...)  But the συντάξεως was never completed.  It was left in this incomplete state even though he claims to have gone from beginning to end of the Marcionite Bible and instead the resulting 'outline' called Preface to the Outline concerning Marcion’s Bible and the Refutation of It (Προοίμιον τῆς περὶ τῶν Μαρκίωνος βιβλίων ὑποθέσεώς τε καὶ ἐλέγχου) is buried in the middle of the Panarion.  Why wasn't it completed as a stand alone treatise?  The reason people leave things incomplete is because they recognize that something is wrong with it.  It's shortcomings were such that it wasn't worth completing it.  One may even go so far as to suspect that by not completing the text and leaving it as a mere outline it would be easier to deflect criticisms.
4. Tertullian's Adversus Marcionem and its Treatment of the Gospel.  The first textual variation from what we might call 'the standard text of the Gospel of Luke' in Adversus Marcionem Book Four is Jesus declaration to the healed leper "Go, show thyself to the priest, and present the offering which Moses commanded that it may be for a testimony unto you."  Tertullan cites the passage not as a variant but as the proper reading of the passage agreeing as he often does with the Codex Bezae and some Latin sources.  For Epiphanius the citation by Tertullian (or possibly Irenaeus originally) is the first on the list of 'Marcionite textual variants' but it is a forced reading of what appears in Adversus Marcionem.  It is worth noting all the preceding citations of Luke in Adversus Marcionem Book 4 up to this point:
  1. "came down to the Galilean city of Capernaum," (AM 7.1 not a variant but a paraphrase)
  2. "they were all astonished at His doctrine." (Luke 4.32 AM 7.7 not a variant)
  3. "His word was with power" (ibid; not a variant)
  4. "the spirit of an unclean devil" exclaims: "What have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus? Art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God." (Luke 4:33, 34; AM 7.9 variant i.e. 'Jesus' as opposed to 'Jesus of Nazareth')
  5. "Thou art the Son of God," (Luke 4.41, AM 8.5 not a variant)
  6. "He departed, and went into a desert place." (Luke 4.42, AM 8.9 not a variant)
  7. " I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also." (ibid not a variant)
  8. "Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men?" (Luke 5:11 AM 9.1)
  9. "Go, show thyself to the priest, and present the offering which Moses commanded ... that it may be for a testimony unto you" (Luke 5:14 AM 9.9, 10 variant)
If as we suggest Adversus Marcionem is the reason Luke 5:14 is the first variant on the list in Epiphanius's ὑποθέσεώς why wasn't Luke 4:33, 34 placed ahead of it?  It is a clearly a variant.  But the reason is equally clear - Adversus Marcionem does not pay any special attention to the variant.

While it is true, Adversus Marcionem doesn't treat Luke 5:14 as a variant; the author 'runs with' the reading as it were.  Adversus Marcionem eventually makes out what might be called a 'Marcionite-like argument' from the reading as we see:

On the same principle occurs all the rest. So far as renouncing all human glory went, He forbade the man to publish abroad the cure; but so far as the honour of the law was concerned, He requested that the usual course should be followed: "Go, show thyself to the priest, and present the offering which Moses commanded." For the figurative signs of the law in its types He still would have observed, because of their prophetic import. These types signified that a man, once a sinner, but afterwards purified from the stains thereof by the word of God, was bound to offer unto God in the temple a gift, even prayer and thanksgiving in the church through Christ Jesus, who is the Catholic Priest of the Father. Accordingly He added: "that it may be for a testimony unto you"----one, no doubt, whereby He would testify that He was not destroying the law, but fulfilling it; whereby, too, He would testify that it was He Himself who was foretold as about to undertake their sicknesses and infirmities. This very consistent and becoming explanation of "the testimony," that adulator of his own Christ, Marcion seeks to exclude under the cover of mercy and gentleness. For, being both good (such are his words), and knowing, besides, that every man who had been freed from leprosy would be sure to perform the solemnities of the law, therefore He gave this precept.  Well, what then? Has He continued in his goodness (that is to say, in his permission of the law) or not? For if he has persevered in his goodness, he will never become a destroyer of the law; nor will he ever be accounted as belonging to another god, because there would not exist that destruction of the law which would constitute his claim to belong to the other god.  If, however, he has not continued good, by a subsequent destruction of the law, it is a false testimony which he has since imposed upon them in his cure of the leper; because he has forsaken his goodness, in destroying the law. If, therefore, he was good whilst upholding the law, he has now become evil as a destroyer of the law. However, by the support which he gave to the law, he affirmed that the law was good. For no one permits himself in the support of an evil thing.  Therefore he is not only bad if he has permitted obedience to a bad law; but even worse still, if he has appeared as the destroyer of a good law. So that if he commanded the offering of the gift because he knew that every cured leper would be sure to bring one; he possibly abstained from commanding what he knew would be spontaneously done. In vain, therefore, was his coming down, as if with the intention of destroying the law, when he makes concessions to the keepers of the law. And yet, because he knew their disposition, he ought the more earnestly to have prevented their neglect of the law, since he had come for this purpose. Why then did he not keep silent, that man might of his own simple will obey the law? For then might he have seemed to some extent to have persisted in his patience.  But he adds also his own authority increased by the weight of this "testimony." Of what testimony, I ask, if not that of the assertion of the law? Surely it matters not in what way he asserted the law----whether as good, or as supererogatory, or as patient, or as inconstant----provided, Marcion, I drive you from your position. Observe, he commanded that the law should be fulfilled.  In whatever way he commanded it, in the same way might he also have first uttered that sentiment: "I came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it." What business, therefore, had you to erase out of the Gospel that which was quite consistent in it? For you have confessed that, in his goodness, he did in act what you deny that he did in word. We have therefore good proof that He uttered the word, in the fact that He did the deed; and that you have rather expunged the Lord's word, than that our (evangelists) have inserted it. 
The point clearly is that Epiphanius clearly read this argument as if the original had knowledge of the Marcionite Bible and transferred that authority to himself.  In the case of the textual variant at Luke 4:32, 33 again the author of Adversus Marcionem does not treat it as a Marcionite corruption and doesn't bother to develop any sort of argument from the mere mention of 'Jesus' to allow Epiphanius to suppose that any mischief has taken place.  The point is clearly Epiphanius placed Luke.

For those who are interested the next time the two texts 'agree' on a textual variant it is found at Luke 7:9 cited as Λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν, τοσαύτην πίστιν οὐδὲ ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ εὗρον.  The commentary in both Epiphanius and Tertullian is clearly related.  Epiphanius writes

If He found not so great faith, even is Israel, as He discovered in this Gentile centurion, He does not therefore condemn the faith of Israel. For if He were alien from Israel's God, and did not pertain to Him, even as His father, He would certainly not have inferentially praised Israel's faith.
This is clearly a summary of what is found in Adversus Marcionem:

Likewise, when extolling the centurion's faith, how incredible a thing it is, that He should confess that He had "found so great a faith not even in Israel." to whom Israel's faith was in no way interesting! But not from the fact (here stated by Christ) could it have been of any interest to Him to approve and compare what was hitherto crude, nay, I might say, hitherto naught. Why, however, might He not have used the example of faith in another god? Because, if He had done so, He would have said that no such faith had ever had existence in Israel; but as the case stands, He intimates that He ought to have found so great a faith in Israel, inasmuch as He had indeed come for the purpose of finding it, being in truth the God and Christ of Israel, and had now stigmatized it, only as one who would enforce and uphold it. If, indeed, He had been its antagonist, He would have preferred finding it to be such faith, having come to weaken and destroy it rather than to approve of it.
But notice that Adversus Marcionem doesn't actually say that he is referencing (a) the gospel reading from Marcion's Bible or (b) that Marcion ever said this.  How then does Epiphanius, having allegedly only the Marcionite Bible in front of him, end up with an identical interpretation of the passage? But if we go one step further and go to the next 'variant' attested by both Tertullian and Epiphanius - Luke 7:9 - it is absolutely obvious that Epiphanius is using a second hand source. For the reading Αὐτός ἐστι περὶ οὗ γέγραπται· ἰδού, ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου πρὸ προσώπου σου is not unusual. It is the standard witness to Luke 7:9. So Epiphanius is clearly only interested in the saying because of the heretical interpretation of the passage which in this case is rather odd. Here's what Tertullian preserves:
But John is offended when he hears of the miracles of Christ, as of an alien god. Well, I on my side will first explain the reason of his offence, that I may the more easily explode the scandal of our heretic ... He (John) was in doubt whether He (Jesus) was actually come whom all men were looking for; whom, moreover, they ought to have recognised by His predicted works, even as the Lord sent word to John, that it was by means of these very works that He was to be recognised. Now, inasmuch as these predictions evidently related to the Creator's Christ----as we have proved in the examination of each of them----it was perverse enough, if he gave himself out to be not the Christ of the Creator, and rested the proof of his statement on those very evidences whereby he was urging his claims to be received as the Creator's Christ. Far greater still is his perverseness when, not being the Christ of John, he yet bestows on John his testimony, affirming him to be a prophet, nay more, his messenger, applying to him the Scripture, "Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee." He graciously adduced the prophecy in the superior sense of the alternative mentioned by the perplexed John, in order that, by affirming that His own precursor was already come in the person of John,
So clearly Adversus Marcionem is drawing from followers of Marcion interpret the passage.  There is nothing in here that requires the Bible of Marcion to be at hand.

Now one may argue that Epiphanius doesn't have to have Adversus Marcionem as his source for this understanding.  You might theoretically argue that he was using De Recta in Deum Fide 2.18 or it could have been some other source unknown to us - until you actually look at the citation:
If God's only-begotten Son recognizes John and foreknows him, and because he foreknows him tells those who are willing to know the truth that this is the one of whom it is written, 'I send my messenger before thy face'—  then the one who said in writing, 'I send my messenger before thy face,' God the eternal who has spoken in the prophets and Law, was not foreign to his own Son, Jesus Christ. For he sends his messenger before his face—before the face of a Son honoured by a Father. He was not sending his messenger to serve a foreigner of whom, as you say, Marcion, he was even the opposite.
In the end there can't be much doubt that Tertullian or an earlier version of Adversus Marcionem was one of Epiphanius's sources.

Indeed in the next shared reading we see that Epiphanius completely ignores a long section which actually deals with what must have been the Marcionite objection - i.e. asking a menstruating woman to touch a man (i.e. him) and instead focuses on what was something of an afterthought in Adversus Marcionem viz. Jesus's physical body:
When Christ approved of the faith of this woman, which simply rested in the Creator, He declared by His answer to her, that He was Himself the divine object of the faith of which He approved. Nor can I overlook the fact that His garment, by being touched, demonstrated also the truth of His body; for of course" it was a body, and not a phantom, which the garment clothed. This indeed is not our point now; but the remark has a natural bearing on the question we are discussing. For if it were not a veritable body, but only a fantastic one, it could not for certain have received contamination, as being an unsubstantial thing. He therefore, who, by reason of this vacuity of his substance, was incapable of contamination, how could he possibly have desired this touch? As an adversary of the law, his conduct was deceitful, for he was not susceptible of a real pollution
The point then quite clearly is that we have clear signs that Epiphanius is not telling us the truth.  He claims that the 'outline' was the simply the product of the special intimacy he had with the Marcionite Bible.  In other words, he doesn't tell us anything about having secondary material.

We have to remember that when Epiphanius prepares us for the outline that will follow he makes clear that this won't simply be a list of textual variants but
the compilation of whatever material he and we have in common ... transcribed word for word by myself from copies of Marcion in the form of scholia with exegetical comments, to serve as an outline.
Yet there can be no doubt that many of the examples we've already brought up fall under this category and were not the result of his 'copying ... word for word from the copies of Marcion['s Bible]."

The present example of the menstruating woman.  The analysis that follows in the Panarion is again a summary of things we've just demonstrated in Adversus Marcionem:
'The people thronged him,' the crowds could not throng a spirit. And a woman who touched him and was healed touched, not air but human tangibility. For to show that the woman's touch of his body was not merely apparent, he teaches (the contrary) by saying, 'Who touched me? For I perceive that virtue hath gone out of me.'
The fact that Epiphanius falsely claims that it was the Marcionite Bible - rather than pre-existent secondary source material which the basis for these comparisons should put up red flags for the work as a whole.

The rest of the parallels between Adversus Marcionem and the Panarion:
  1. "on the third day" Adversus Marcionem Wishing, therefore, to be believed by them in this wise [i.e. by declaring he would be resurrected after three days], He declared Himself to be just what they had deemed Him to be----the Creator's Christ, the Redeemer of lsrael. But as touching the reality of His body, what can be plainer? When they were doubting whether He were not a phantom----nay, were supposing that He was one. Panarion Elenchus 16. If the only-begotten Son of God acknowledged that he was the Son of Man, and would suffer and be put to death, this is an axe pointed at you, Marcion, grubbing up your whole root—you scion of thorns, you waterless cloud, you barren tree with dead leaves! For he says in turn, 'and be raised again after three days.' But what was it that was raised, except the very thing that had suffered and been buried in the sepulchre? There could be no funeral and interment of a phantom, a wind, a spirit, or an illusion, and no resurrection of them.
  2. "And behold, there talked with him two men, Elijah and Moses in glory." Adversus Marcionem "Marcion has denied that he is here represented as speaking with the Lord" Panarion For because you [Marcion] would deny the Law and the prophets and call them alien to the Saviour and his glory and inspired teaching, he brought both men with him in his own glory, and showed them to his disciples. And the disciples showed them to us and the world—that is to everyone who desires life—to chop your roots with the first as with an axe, and with the second, trim your branches off as with the pruning hook of the utterance of the truth—the branches which secrete the hemlock and deadly poison for men, the oily sap of blasphemy! For if Moses, to whom Christ entrusted the Law long ago, were a stranger to him, and if the prophets were strangers, he would not reveal them with him in his own glory."
  3. "out of a cloud a voice, 'This is my beloved Son."  Adversus Marcionem Unless, indeed, He [the Father] had brought down his own clouds thither, because he had himself forced his way through the Creator's heaven; or else it was only a precarious cloud, as it were, of the Creator which he used. Panarion  Anyone can see that the cloud is not in the remote heights or above the heavens, but is in the creation around us from which the voice came to the Saviour. Hence, even though the Father spoke from a cloud to indicate the Son to the disciples, the demiurge is not a different person but the same One who bore witness to his own Son out of a cloud, and is not, as Marcion claims, master only of the realms above heaven.
  4. "And he said to them, O faithless generation, how long shall I suffer you?" Adversus Marcionem "Now who would not thus have rebutted the unfairness of the rebuke, if he had supposed its author to belong to him who had had no right as yet to complain? Except that not even He would have inveighed against them, if He had not dwelt among them of old in the law and by the prophets, and with mighty deeds and many mercies, and had always experienced them to be 'faithless.'" Panarion 'How long' is an indication of a time span in Christ's incarnate life; 'O faithless generation,' indicates that the prophets worked miracles in his name and believed as we find Elijah doing, and Elisha and the others. (The bit about 'how long' being equal to the incarnation is an innovation by Epiphanius reflecting contemporary Christology).  
5. Tertullian's Adversus Marcionem and its Treatment of the Apostle.  Epiphanius misinterprets Tertullian's statement about to the Laodiceans being a distinct text from Ephesians (rather than what Tertullian actually says, namely that Ephesians was called Laodiceans).  This leads to the error "but in his own Apostolic Canon, as he called it, he also added, of the so-called Epistle to the Laodiceans."

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