Markus Vinzent's Blog

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Eph. 3:9, Marcion and the Catholic redaction

TJ Lang has presented a fascinating paper on Eph. 3:9, Marcion and Tertullian. When attending this paper at the last Oxford Patristic Conference of 2015, it became clear to me that this is a wonderful example (one of many) where one can see that the apologetics' claim of Marcion being the redactor, whereas the orthodox had the original text can be shown as rather unlikely to be true. As I wrote to a colleague who asked me about this topic:

There are so many places where if you compare the textus receptus with Marcion's attested text you will see that Marcion's text quite often can be interpreted in an orthodox/catholic way, while the textus receptus could not have been subscribed by Marcion or, if one follows the argument below, on should say, is anti-Marcionite.

One example is precisely the passage that TJ Lang dealt with in Oxford, Eph 3:9, as reported by Tert., Adv. Marc. V 18. There Tertullian complains that Marcion left aside the 'in'/ἐν (τοῦ μυστηρίου τοῦ ἀποκεκρυμμένου ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων ἐν τῷ θεῷ τῷ τὰ πάντα κτίσαντι), hence understood the text as saying that the mysteries were hidden 'from' the God who created the all, hence the creator. Yet, without the 'in', one could still have read the text, as it is now being read with the 'in'. Therefore, a redactional striking off of the 'in' by Marcion had made no sense whatsoever, whereas a catholic redaction of adding the 'in' was a unambiguous clarification of the sense of the passage that went against the grain of Marcion's theology.
This, as I say, is just but one example which could be multiplied.

The sole conclusion from all these instances is that if Irenaeus/Tertullian/Epiphanius were right that Marcion redacted the textus receptus, he must have been either a pretty bad redactor turning texts into ambiguous readings which could be used against him (and Tertullian has exactly this opinion and ridicules Marcion for this non-professionalism), or what is more likely, when Marcion published this text, he had his own reading of Paul's text, a reading which in the context of his NT and his Antitheses was too harsh so that the catholic redaction made the text exclusively anti-marcionite.

In my eyes, the job which Ulrich Schmid thought to have done by elaborating on Marcion's Paul needs to be done again, this time, however, not on the unquestioned apologetic position of A. v. Harnack that one would not even question that Marcion was the later redactor.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

A first glimpse at the newly rediscovered Eckhart Manuscript (Pfeiffer P Giessener Privatsammlung), now Wartburg-Stiftung Ms. 1361-50

To establish the nature of this recently rediscovered Eckhart Manuscript (identified by our colleague Balasz J. Nemes, Freiburg i.Br., it will for the first time presented to the public at a major exhibition at Erfurt, Waidspeicher, opening on 23 January 2016, 7pm), here a first glimpse and interpretation of the first part of the first small opening section which, in the manuscript, follows Psalms and a sermon which still need to be looked at more closely. So after these introductory texts we read the following text, given here in row 2 in Middle High German, followed in row 3 by my own English translation. In row 1 you will read Thomas Aquinas' text to compare with row 2:

Thom. Aqu., S. Th. I q. 105 a. 5 
Wartburg Ms. 1361-50
Translation of Wartburg Ms. 1361-50
Deus non operetur

Deum operari in rebus,
tamen ipsae res

Ad cuius
considerandum est quod, cum sint
 causarum quatuor genera,

non est principium
actionis, sed se habet ut subiectum recipiens actionis effectum.




se habent ut actionis principium,
sed ordine quodam.

Meister thomas vraged
god ein
midwirker si,
allen den dingen
die da wirkend
als so ich etwas wirke of god das werk
in mir wirke. Hie spriched er also,

das god in allen dingen wirke
also das doch dv ding ir eigen werk
[33v] hauend, das in van ir eigener nature zuo behoerd.

Vnd hervmb
das wir dis deste das merken, so svlen wir wissen,
das vier lei

sachen sind.
Dv ein heissed ein materliche sache,
vnd mag
nihd ein anvang sin eins werkes, mer si helded sich als ein lidlichv sache dv einphenglich ist des werkes der wirkenden sache.

Dv ander sache heissed dv leste sache.

Dv dridde heissed dv wirkende sache.

Dv vierde heissed dv foermliche sache, vnd dise drie sache sind alle drie
ein anvang der wirklicheid. Vnd doch nah einer [34r] ordenunge
Meister Thomas asked
God was
all things
that act
so that when I do something, whether God is doing the work in me. To this, then, he [Thomas] says that God is acting in all things, so that nevertheless the thing retain their own work [33v] which belongs to it by its own nature.

And in order
for us
to notice this, we have to know
that there are four things.
The one is called
a material thing,
which may
not be the principle of a work, but behaves
like a suffering thing that receives the
work of
the acting thing.
The other thing is called the last thing.

The third is called the acting thing.

The fourth is called the formal
, and these
three things are all three one principle of reality.
Yet according to an [34r] order.

This first piece with which the text in the Wartburg manuscript opens starts with a reference to Thomas Aquinas. And, indeed, it is not only a reference regarding Thomas’ teaching in a more general sense, but the text begins with a literal translation of a section, taken from Thomas’ Summa Theologia (I q. 105 a. 5). This question of Thomas deals with the broader problem of ‘divine governing or the change of creatures by God’ (De secundo effectu gubernationis divinae qui est mutatio creaturarum). This question Thomas addresses after having answered the prior questions of 1) Can God move immediately the matter to the form? 2) Can He immediately move a body? 3) Can He move the intellect? and 4) Can He move the will?
Despite the fact that we find a literal translation of Thomas’ quote in our text, right from the beginning we also have to note subtle alterations which the translator introduces into his rendering. Already in the question, he intensifies the operating or working of God ‘in all things’ by sharpening it to what he calls a ‘cooperating’ (midwirker si). That our author puts emphasis precisely on this notion can be seen by the first deviation from his pre-text which he explains in more detail: ‘so that when I do something’, one has to ask ‘whether God is doing the work in me’. God’s cooperation, hence, is referred to the individual agent and is raised to the tension, if not emphatic paradox of an agent ‘I’ that is confronted with God as agent. The following bridging introduction of the next portion of the translation (‘To this, then, he [Thomas] says ...’) reveals that the translator is not only conscious of the fact that he had deviated from his source, but also indicates this deviation to his audience or readership, thus, marking out the different levels of source/translation and commentary. This indication highlights from the beginning that we are not dealing with a simple excerpt from Thomas, but with a learned, careful reading, translating and rendering of Thomas with the view of interpreting him in a particular way. The source of this interpretation is quickly found, as the paradox of the agent ‘I’ and God the agent is known from Eckhart and, more importantly, with explicit reference to precisely the passage of Thomas we have quoted and translated here. In his Commentary on John, Eckhart writes:
‘What he says here: The Father who remains in me, he himself does the works [John 14:10], which is the same as what has been said in the first chapter: All things have been done by him, and without him nothing has been done [John 1:3]. The principle without principle, namely, is the Father, which works in everything that is principled or produced. Therefore, it is also said that God works in everything that works, as Thomas teaches p. I q. 1[0]5 a. 5.[1]
According to Eckhart God, the Father, is the agent ‘in everything’, whereby things are understood as acting things. While God is the principle without principle, the things are acting with God acting in them. As authority for his explanation of John 14:10 and John 1:3, he explicitly refers to Thomas’ Summa Theologia, the passage that is been translated in our Wartburg manuscript. Interestingly, the Wartburg manuscript allows us to correct the text of the manuscripts, the critical edition and also of the reference text that the editors of the critical edition are referring to, as Eckhart is not pointing to STh p. I q. 15 a. 5 as given by the manuscripts and the critical edition which was already seen by the editors, hence they point in the apparatus to STh  l q. 15 a. 3 ad 2: deus ... essentia sua est principium operationum aliarum, but to our passage here. In Eckhart’s Commentary we read: Propter quod et deus dicitur operari in omni operante, ut docet  Thomas p. I q. 15 a. 5, which can be found in STh I q. 105 a. 5 as: Videtur quod Deus non operetur in omni operante. Quite obviously, the zero has been dropped in the transmission process of Eckhart’s text, but can now be restored on the basis of the Wartburg manuscript.
The same theological topic recurse in Eckhart, both in his Latin and German works. Early on in his Sermons and Lectures on Jesus Sirach 24 he discusses the working of God in the preacher:
Like a vine. The ‘like’ signifies a relation of similarity. However, in a relation, being oneself is being not oneself; [in a relation] to be for oneself is to be not for oneself, but of another, towards the other and for the other. In the same way the preacher of the word of God who is ‘the power of God and the wisdom of God’ [1Cor. 1:24], should not be or live for himself but for Christ [see 2Cor. 5:15] whom he preaches according to that [verse] Gal. 2[:20]: ‘I live, yet not I, in truth Christ lives in me’. ‘I, yet not I’, and this means: like me or like a vine, it is Christ, like Christ, John 15[:1]: ‘I am the true vine’. Christ [is] the vine, the preacher is ‘like a vine’. And because the work belongs to the one who is, the teaching of Christ’s preacher should not focus on anything else than Christ, so that he can say with John 7[:16]: ‘My teaching is not mine, but of him who sent me’. This is therefore, secondly, what is required from the preacher, sincerity of purpose: ‘like a vine’. [2]
As with God in everything that works, so is Christ the one that lives and works in the preacher who preaches, hence it is Christ teaching in and through the preacher and the preaching of the preacher is not his own, but Christ’s. A little later, in his second lecture on Jesus Sirach, Eckhart adds more philosophically, joining end and principle:
Someone’s work that has its end in something other than God, for this one’s work God is not the principle, because God is both, end and principle. A work is namely not divine, the principle of which is not God. As an image and example of this it is said Jn. 14[:10]: The Father who remains in me, he himself does the works.[3]
Close to what follows in the Wartburg manuscript as further quotation from Thomas with regards the principle of form for matter, Eckhart states in his Commentary on John:
So it is, therefore also with any substantial form that is united to matter which communicates its being to matter and by its own being inhabits matter and by inhabiting communicates its own works to it. And from the outer works shines back that itself inhabits, is at and is in matter, according to that verse [1]Cor. 13: You search for proof of him that Christ speaks in me [2Cor. 13:3].[4]
Also Eckhart’s German works deals with this inbeing of the divine agent in the human agent. Most prominently, we read in his Predigt 31 towards the end about the Godlike soul:
To call a man enlightened as we sometimes do, means little. Where it comes out of it is far better; where it breaks through into the soul and makes her Godlike, divine, as far as may be, and light inwardly. In this interior light she climbs up above herself in the light of God. Now she has come home and is at one with him, there she is a cooperator. Nothing is wrought by creature, unless the Father works alone. The soul shall never stop until she works as powerful as God. Then she works together with the Father all his work: she shall work as one with him, wisely and lovingly. That we have to work together with God, Gold help us. Amen.[5]
Here, Eckhart starts with the idea that the soul, once herself in the light of God, is a fellow-worker, a cooperator with God to end with God being the cooperator of the soul, as he is the one that ‘works alone’. As in the explanatory part of our Wartburg section, therefore, it is God’s doing the work ‘in me’ that my own activity is retained, yet it is interpreted by Eckhart as an activity done by God himself. It is this in-working of soul and God, of acting agents as which he interprets the cooperation between the acting soul and the acting God which makes him interpret the cooperation as a unity, a wise and loving one. This idea of a unity of human and divine agent makes Eckhart even think of his own origin where he was born, a birth that he reflects as a result not only of the sexual unity of his parents, but as one that was such cooperations of human and divine agent:
Many years ago, I was not; not long after that my father and my mother eating meat, bread and cabbage that grew in the garden, from which I became to be human being. In this my father and my mother were unable to cooperate, but God made my body without aid and created my soul after the supreme. Thus I became to own my life.[6]
Although Eckhart seems to deny the cooperation between God and Eckhart’s parents, as God produceds both body and soul after the supreme, it is not without the meal of meat, bread and cabbage (with meat mentioned first, therefore, perhaps not an ordinary, daily, but a festive meal) and what happened after it that Eckhart came to life, and yet he sees both his body and soul as being the product of God, a product, however, which, he asserts, is not simply belonging to the divine realm, but is owned by himself. Ownership and agency, is intertwined, is a unity, the topic which is dealt here in the first text of our Wartburg manuscript.[7] As the discussion comes close to what Eckhart in his Predigt 14 mentions to have been written down in his notebook,[8] whether, what we have here in the Wartburg manuscript may derive from such a booklet.

[1] Eckhart, In Ioh. n. 582 (LW III 509,11-5): quod hic dicitur: 'pater in me manens, ipse facit  opera', ipsum est quod supra primo capitulo dicitur: 'omnia per ipsum facta sunt, et  sine ipso factum est nihil'. »Principium enim sine principio«, pater, operatur in omni principiato  seu producto. Propter quod et deus dicitur operari in omni operante, ut docet  Thomas p. I q. 1[0]5 a. 5.
[2] See Eckhart, In Eccl. n. 4 (LW II 233,1-11): 'Quasi vitis'. Li quasi relationem similitudinis significat. Relationi autem  suum esse est non suum esse; sibi esse est non sibi, sed alterius, ad alterum  et alteri esse. Sic praedicator verbi dei, quod est 'dei virtus et dei sapientia',  non debet sibi esse aut vivere, sed Christo quem praedicat, secundum illud  Gal. 2: 'vivo ego, iam non ego, vivit vero in me Christus'. 'Ego, iam non ego',  et hoc est: ego quasi vel quasi vitis, id est Christus, quasi Christus, Ioh. 15:  'ego sum vitis vera'. Christus vitis, praedicator 'quasi vitis'. Et quia eius est  operari cuius est esse, praedicatoris Christi doctrina non debet quidquam  intendere praeter Christum, ut possit dicere illud Ioh. 7: 'mea doctrina non  est mea, sed eius qui misit me'. Hoc est ergo secundum, quod in praedicatore  requiritur, intentionis sinceritas: 'quasi vitis'.
[3] Eckhart, In Eccl. n. 57 (LW II 286,8-12: ... Cuius enim operis finis est quippiam praeter deum, huius operis deus non est principium, quia deus idem, finis et principium. Opus autem divinum non est, cuius deus  principium non est. In cuius figura et exemplo dicitur Ioh. 14: 'pater in me  manens, ipse facit opera'; see also ibid. n. 66 (LW II 296,1-6); In Sap. nn. 101-2 (LW II 437-440); with reference to the builder see n. 123 (LW II 460,10-461,5); n. 184 (LW II 520,5-521,1); In Ioh. n. 68 (LW III 56,7-14).
[4] Eckhart, In Ioh. n. 156 (LW III 129,8-10): Sic enim etiam se habet de omni  forma substantiali unita materiae, quae esse suum materiae communicat et per  ipsum esse suum materiam inhabitat et inhabitando opera sua illi communicat; et ex operibus extra relucet ipsam inhabitare, adesse et inesse materiae, secundum  illud Cor. 13: 'experimentum quaeritis eius, qui in me loquitur Christus'.
[5] Eckhart, Pr. 31 (DW II 124,5-125,5): Daz man etwenne sprichet: daz ist ein erliuhtet mensche, daz ist kleine. Aber dâ ez ûzbrichet, daz ist verre bezzer und brichet durch in die sêle und machet sie glîch gote und gotvar, als ez mügelich ist, und înerliuhtet sie. In der înerliuhtunge klimmet si über sich in dem götlîchen liehte. Als si nû danne alsô heim kumet und alsô mit im vereinet ist, sô ist si ein mitewürkerin. Kein crêatûre enwürket niht dan der vater, der würket aleine. Diu sêle sol niemer ûfgehœren, si enwerde des werkes als gewaltic als got. Sô würket si mit dem vater alliu sîniu werk; si würket mit im einvalticlîche und wîsliche und minniclîche. Daz wir mit gote also würken müezen, des helfe uns got. Amen. (trans. based on Evans, altered).
[6] Eckhart, Pr. 51 (DW II 474,2-6): Vor manichen jaren do was ich nitt; darnach nit lang, do asß meyn vatter vnnd meyn muter fleisch vnnd brott vnd kraut, das in dem garten wuchß, vnnd dauon bin ich eyn mensch. das selb mochte meyn vatter noch meyn muter nit mitwürcken, sunder gott der machet meyn leychnam on mittel vnnd geschuff meyn sele nach dem aller höchstenn. hie besaß ich meyn leben.
[7] See also Eckhart, Pr. 81 (DW III 395-404); this text may also reveal, why the section on Thomas is followed by the question of the changeability of God.  
[8] Eckhart, Pr. 14 (DW I 237,8).

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

What should cancer patients eat during Taxol (paclitaxel) chemotherapy?

Nothing spectacular for those who have experience with eating diets for cancer patients, but I think the following information summarises well the latest information on what to prefer and what to leave during Taxol (paclitaxel) chemotherapy in ovarian cancer:

Taxol (paclitaxel) is effective in improving breast cancer prognosis: numerous studies have found that it protects against breast cancer recurrence and death. Taxol and other taxanes can result in side effects such as hair loss, mouth sores, nausea, fatigue, low white blood cell count, neuropathy, muscle and joint pain, cognitive impairment (chemo brain) and serious infections. While obtaining relief from these side effects obviously is desirable, it is very important for breast cancer patients to avoid consuming foods or taking supplements that will lessen the cytotoxic impact of chemotherapy on cancer cells.
While various micronutrients found in fruits, vegetables and other foods have been shown to help protect against breast cancer development and metastasis, some of the same micronutrients might enable breast cancer cells to survive chemotherapy. Therefore, the strategy we recommend during chemotherapy and for the following month is to consume the foods recommended below, as well as those listed on the bland chemotherapy diet (also below), while limiting or avoiding the foods listed below that should not be consumed while on Taxol (as well as those on our avoid list). Please see also our web page on factors influencing Taxol's effectiveness.

Foods that enhance the effectiveness of Taxol

The following foods are very good sources of compounds that have been shown to increase the anti-cancer effects of Taxol:

Bell peppers
Black pepper
Bok choy, or Chinese cabbage
Brazil nuts
Brussels sprouts
Collard greens
Grape juice, purple
Grapes, red
Hot peppers
Olives and olive oil
Onions, yellow
Rice, brown
Salmon, wild
Turnips and turnip greens
Many women undergoing chemotherapy develop abnormally low iron levels, which must be treated. However, excess iron is also to be avoided during chemotherapy. Curcumin (found in turmeric) has been shown to be an iron chelator, a compound that removes iron from the body. Turmeric might also protect the brain from chemotherapy, thereby possibly reducing chemo brain.

Sour cherries, olive oil and vitamin D might relieve joint and muscle pain, although their effectiveness has not specifically been studied in the context of taxane chemotherapy. Brazil nut consumption should be limited to no more than one nut per day, on average, to avoid consuming excess selenium.

Please note that while salmon and the closely-related Arctic char are recommended for consumption during Taxol chemotherapy, recent research suggests that herring, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, lake trout and similar fish should not be consumed the day before through the day after a chemotherapy treatment. In addition, these fish should be consumed only in moderation during the remaining days of each cycle. Fish oil supplements should not be consumed by those undergoing chemotherapy.

Foods and other products that should not be used during Taxol chemotherapy:
The following foods and supplements have been found either to interfere with the effectiveness of Taxol or, in the case of raw shellfish, should not be consumed by those with impaired immunity:

Açaí berries
Caffeine, any source
Coffee, regular or decaf
Fish oil
Hormone replacement therapy, including bioidentical or natural hormones
Iron supplements (unless medically necessary)
Mint tea
Multivitamins & antioxidant supplements
Shellfish, raw
Acetyl-l-carnitine, which is sometimes used for the prevention of taxane-induced neuropathy, has been found actually to increase neuropathy.
Citrus flavonoid hesperidin could reduce effectiveness of cyclophosphamide

Hesperidin, a flavonoid found in oranges, tangerines, kumquats, lemons, limes and grapefruit, has the potential to interfere with chemotherapy regimens containing cyclophosphamide, such as TAC (taxotere, adriamycin and cyclophosphamide). Cyclophosphamide is an alkylating agent frequently used in combination with taxanes (Taxol, Taxotere) and/or anthracyclines (Adriamycin, epirubicin) to treat breast cancer. Hesperidin is found most abundantly in the peel, pith and membranous parts of oranges and other citrus fruits. Prepared food sources include orange tea, unfiltered orange juice, orange marmalade, and dishes that incorporate citrus peel such as Szechuan Orange Chicken.

Bland diet for use during Taxol chemotherapy

The list below features bland, as well as somewhat bitter-tasting foods, that do not promote cancer (when consumed in moderation). It is important not to drive up blood sugar and insulin levels with high carbohydrate/low fiber meals. Select as wide a variety of these foods as possible and consume any one of them in moderation in addition to the foods recommended above.

Almonds, skinless
Beans, white
Bread, whole grain
Chicken, organic
Coconut, raw
Green beans
Honey, minimally processed
Lettuce, iceberg
Melons, pale winter
Onions, Vidalia
Peaches, white
Turkey, organic
Vinegar, white
Yogurt, low-fat

Weight loss and weight gain during chemotherapy

Recent studies suggest that fasting around chemotherapy treatments could protect normal cells from the toxic effects of chemotherapy while sensitizing cancer cells to the treatment. However, more studies and human trials are required before it can be determined whether fasting during chemotherapy is safe and effective.

On the other hand, weight gain, which is common during chemotherapy, is known to be associated with less favourable prognosis and should be avoided.
Unfortunately no specific webpage exists so far for food and diet in ovarian cancer cases, so the occasional posts here may make a start of what has already been well developed in the field of breast cancer research:

On side-effects of chemotherapy, see the informative diagram and commentary of Healthline.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Did the Valentinian Heracleon write a Commentary on Luke or on Marcion's Gospel?

As Tertullian himself indicates in De praescriptione 25,1 (ut diximus), he first refers to the earlier discussion of Marcion’s position of the ignorance of the Apostles to here move on to the Valentinian tenets, according to which the Apostles ‘were neither ignorant ... nor preached different doctrines’, ‘but committed some things openly to all, and others secretly to a few’. It is interesting to learn from Tertullian that such claims were based on the Pastoral Letters. Already Michael Baumgarten has brought together the evidence that the Valentinians made use of and quoted the Pastoral Letters,[1] and it is particularly interesting that it was precisely in Heracleon’s commentary not on Luke 12:9-11, as it has always been thought, but, as it will be shown, on Marcion’s Gospel where this ‘most distinguished of the school of Valentinus’[2] uses 2Tim. 2:13:
Heracleon, Fragment, in Clem. Alex., Strom. IV 9
Heracleon, Fragment, in Clem. Alex., Strom. IV 9 (trans. William Wilson, ANF, altered)
Τοῦτον ἐξηγούμενος τὸν τόπον Ἡρακλέων ὁ
τῆς Οὐαλεντίνου σχολῆς δοκιμώτατος
κατὰ λέξιν φησὶν
ὁμολογίαν εἶναι τὴν μὲν ἐν πίστει καὶ πολιτείᾳ, τὴν δὲ ἐν φωνῇ.
ἡ μὲν οὖν ἐν φωνῇ ὁμολογία καὶ
ἐπὶ τῶν ἐξουσιῶν γίνεται, ἣν μόνην, φησίν, ὁμολογίαν ἡγοῦνται εἶναι
οἱ πολλοὶ οὐχ ὑγιῶς,
δύνανται δὲ ταύτην τὴν ὁμολογίαν καὶ οἱ ὑποκριταὶ ὁμολογεῖν.
ἀλλ' οὐδ' εὑρεθήσεται οὗτος ὁ λόγος
καθολικῶς εἰρημένος· οὐ γὰρ πάντες οἱ σῳζόμενοι ὡμολόγησαν τὴν διὰ τῆς φωνῆς ὁμολογίαν καὶ ἐξῆλθον, ἐξ ὧν Ματθαῖος, Φίλιππος, Θωμᾶς, Λευῒς καὶ ἄλλοι πολλοί.
καὶ ἔστιν ἡ διὰ τῆς φωνῆς ὁμολογία οὐ καθολική, ἀλλὰ μερική.
καθολικὴ δὲ ἣν νῦν λέγει, ἡ
ἐν ἔργοις καὶ πράξεσι καταλλήλοις
τῆς εἰς αὐτὸν πίστεως.
ἕπεται δὲ ταύτῃ τῇ ὁμολογίᾳ καὶ ἡ
μερικὴ ἡ ἐπὶ τῶν ἐξουσιῶν, ἐὰν δέῃ καὶ
ὁ λόγος αἱρῇ.
ὁμολογήσει γὰρ οὗτος καὶ τῇ φωνῇ,
ὀρθῶς προομολογήσας πρότερον τῇ διαθέσει.
καὶ καλῶς ἐπὶ μὲν
τῶν ὁμολογούντων ἐν ἐμοὶ εἶπεν,
ἐπὶ δὲ τῶν ἀρνουμένων τὸ ἐμὲ προσέθηκεν.
οὗτοι γάρ, κἂν τῇ φωνῇ ὁμολογήσωσιν
αὐτόν, ἀρνοῦνται αὐτόν,
τῇ πράξει μὴ ὁμολογοῦντες.
μόνοι δ' ἐν αὐτῷ ὁμολογοῦσιν οἱ ἐν τῇ κατ' αὐτὸν πολιτείᾳ καὶ πράξει βιοῦντες, ἐν
οἷς καὶ αὐτὸς ὁμολογεῖ ἐνειλημμένος
αὐτοὺς καὶ ἐχόμενος ὑπὸ τούτων.
διόπερ ἀρνήσασθαι αὐτὸν οὐδέποτε δύνανται (2Tim. 2:13)·
ἀρνοῦνται δὲ αὐτὸν οἱ μὴ ὄντες ἐν αὐτῷ. οὐ γὰρ εἶπεν ὃς ἀρνήσηται ἐν ἐμοί, ἀλλ' ἐμέ·
οὐδεὶς γάρ ποτε ὢν ἐν αὐτῷ ἀρνεῖται αὐτόν.
τὸ δὲ ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων καὶ τῶν σῳζομένων καὶ τῶν ἐθνικῶν δὲ ὁμοίως παρ' οἷς μὲν καὶ τῇ πολιτείᾳ, παρ' οἷς δὲ καὶ τῇ φωνῇ. διόπερ ἀρνήσασθαι αὐτὸν οὐδέποτε δύνανται· ἀρνοῦνται δὲ αὐτὸν οἱ μὴ ὄντες ἐν αὐτῷ.
Ταῦτα μὲν ὁ Ἡρακλέων·
In explanation of this passage, Heracleon, the most distinguished of the school of Valentinus, says expressly,
that there is a confession by faith and conduct, and one with the voice.
The confession that is made with the voice, and before the authorities, is what the most reckon the only confession.
Not soundly, though,
as also hypocrites can confess with this
But neither will this utterance be found to be spoken universally; for all the saved have confessed with the confession made by the voice, and departed. Of whom are Matthew, Philip, Thomas, Levi, and many others.
And confession by the lip is not universal,
but partial.
But that which He specifies now is universal, that which is by deeds and actions corresponding to faith in Him.
This confession is followed by that which is partial, that before the authorities, if necessary, and reason dictate.
For he will confess rightly with his voice who has first confessed by his disposition.
And he has well used, with regard to those who confess, the expression
in Me,
and applied to those who deny the expression
Me. For those, though they confess Him with the voice, yet deny Him, not confessing Him in their conduct.
But those alone confess in Him, who live in the confession and conduct according to Him, in which He also confesses, who is contained in them and held by them.
He never can deny Himself
(2Tim. 2:13).
And those deny Him who are not in Him. For He said not,
Whosoever shall deny in Me, but Me. For no one who is in Him will ever deny Him. And the expression before men applies both to the saved and the heathen similarly by conduct before the one, and by voice before the other. Wherefore they never can deny Him.
But those deny Him who are not in Him
So far Heracleon.

If we had no other fragment by Heracleon, from this one alone we could agree with Clement’s characterisation of him as a most distinguished teacher. What Heracleon is saying here is subtle and shows him as a highly sensitive interpreter far from any sophistery. He first distinguishes between two forms of confession (ὁμολογία), one by faith and conduct and one by voice. And he sees that in the pericope under discussion, there is mention of a confession before the authorities (12:11) which he sees as the one that ‘most reckon’ to be ‘the only confession’, apparently the way, this passage was either understood by other readers or by the author of the text itself. The plural (‘most’; οἱ πολλοί) points, however, towards readers. Heracleon sees two reasons why this is not the only and even not the most important confession, as he is going to develop further. The first reason he gives is that also ‘hypocrites’ can make such oral confessions. More importantly, however, is his second reason, namely that such oral confessions are not ‘universal’ ones, but ‘partial’ ones, making the distinction between οὐ καθολική, ἀλλὰ μερική. Interestingly amongst those who have made ‘partial’ confessions he counts important names of Apostles: Matthew, Philip, Thomas, Levi and adds ‘many others’. It is a partial confession only, because it is necessitated by a specific situation, or called for by authorities and follows the dictate of reason.
In contrast to this form of confession of the voice (or the lips), Heracleon develops what he means by the universal, the true confession which is ‘corresponding to faith in Him’ – and this is the first of the above defined confession, the one ‘by deeds and actions’. Yet, he also adds that the two forms of confession should not be entirely separated, but that the confession of the voice has to be preceeded by the one of ‘disposition’ or ‘action’ (τῇ διαθέσει; τῇ πράξει). He then gives a precise definition of the essential confession: It is confessing ‘in Him, who live in the confession and conduct according to Him, in which He also confesses, who is contained in them and held by them’.[1] It is a mutual being-in of the one who believes in Him and the Lord in whom the confessor believes and who is contained in the believer and held by the believer.
This immediacy between believer and the divine, Heracleon could not have found in Luke 12:9-11, as contrary to Marcion’s Gospel (as attested by Tertullian) the textus receptus of Luke places ‘the angels’ as mediators in between the believers and the Lord:
Mcn *12:8-9 (teste Tert., reconstr. M. Klinghardt)
Luke 12:8-9
Matth. 10:32-3
8Λέγω δὲ γὰρ ὑμῖν,
πᾶς ὃς ἂν ὁμολογήσῃ
ἐν ἐμοὶ
τῶν ἀνθρώπων,

ὁμολογήσω                ἐν αὐτῷ

τοῦ θεοῦ:

9 καὶ πᾶς ὁ ἀρνησάμενός με
ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀνθρώπων

τοῦ θεοῦ.
8Λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν,
πᾶς ὃς ἂν ὁμολογήσῃ
ἐν ἐμοὶ
τῶν ἀνθρώπων,
ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου
ὁμολογήσει                 ἐν αὐτῷ
τῶν ἀγγέλων
τοῦ θεοῦ:

9       δὲ ἀρνησάμενός με
ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀνθρώπων
τῶν ἀγγέλων
τοῦ θεοῦ.

Πᾶς οὖν ὅστις ὁμολογήσει
ἐν ἐμοὶ
τῶν ἀνθρώπων,

ὁμολογήσω κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ

τοῦ πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν [τοῖς] οὐρανοῖς:
33ὅστις δ' ἂν ἀρνήσηταί με
ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων,
ἀρνήσομαι κἀγὼ αὐτὸν

τοῦ πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν [τοῖς]

Tertullian clearly points out the immediacy between believer and Lord in Marcion’s Gospel: ‘For I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, I will confess him before God[1] and Epiphianis highlights precisely the difference between Marcion’s immediacy and Luke’s angelic mediation, when he notes that in Marcion’s Gospel we read that we read instead of Ὁμολογήσει ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀγγέλων τοῦ θεοῦ simply Ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ.[2] There is no mention of angels in Heracleon and angels as in Luke would have defied the idea of such mutual in-being between believer and the one the believer believes in. Moreover, Luke reads like an attempt to remove such intimacy, whereas Heracleon seems to read Marcion’s Gospel by also relying on 2Timothy to substantiate his view that such essential union makes it entirely impossible to be dissolved and, conversely, that people who do not live in such union by their very nature – and not only in given situations – are in denial of the Lord.
In our passage of De praescriptione, therefore, Tertullian, rightly moves from contradicting Marcion to an argument against those Valentinians whom he has branded to be disciples of Marcion before. It is not unlikely that the quotes from the Pastoral Letters (here 1 and 2Timothy) which he puts into the mouth of his opponents have indeed been used by his Valentinian opponents.

[1] Tert., Adv. Marc. IV 28,4: Dico enim vobis, omnis qui confitebitur in me coram hominibus, confitebor in illo coram deo.
[2] Epiph., Pan. Schol. 30: ἀντὶ τοῦ Ὁμολογήσει ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀγγέλων τοῦ θεοῦ Ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ λέγει.

[1] See also his spiritual interpretation of the ‘in Him’ in Orig., In Ioh. 15.

[1] M. Baumgarten, Die Aechtheit der Pastoralbriefe (1837), 38; this is also noted by E. Pagels, The Gnostic Paul (1975), 166 (although she erroneously Clem. Alex., Strom. 2.13 instead of 4.9).
[2] More on Heracleon see Tert., Adv. Val. 4,2; Iren., Adv. haer. II 4,1; Hipp., Ref. VI 24; 30; Origen, In Ioh. II 15.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Marcion's two recensions of his Gospel

One of the most important insights of my Marcion and the Dating of the Synoptic Gospels (2014) was the discovery that Marcion’s Gospel existed in two different versions, first as a pre-published, presumably stand-alone draft, and secondly as a published edition with the framing of the Antitheses and the 10 Pauline Letters. How did I derive to this conclusion? The key text in this respect is Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem IV 4,2 which, in a second step, I’d like to put into the broader frame of Tertullian’s discussion of Marcion’s Antitheses and his Gospel in Adversus Marcionem IV 1-5, so that we can follow Tertullian’s arguments. Here, first the crucial passage from Adversus Marcionem IV 4,2[1]:


Quam absurdum, ut, si nostrum antiquius probaverimus, Marcionis vero posterius, et nostrum ante videatur falsum quam habuerit de veritate materiam, et Marcionis ante credatur aemulationem a nostro expertum quam et editum; et postremo id verius existimetur quod est serius, post tot ac tanta iam opera atque documenta Christianae religionis saeculo edita, quae edi utique non potuissent sine evangelii veritate, id est ante evangelii veritatem.


I add the English translation of Ernest Evans of 1972 (Oxford):

How preposterous it would be that when we have proved ours the older, and that Marcion's has emerged later, ours should be taken to have been false before it had from the truth material <for falsehood to work on>, and Marcion's be believed to have suffered hostility from ours before it was even published: and in the end <how ridiculous> that that which is later should be reckoned more true, even after the publication to the world of all those great works and evidences of the Christian religion which surely could never have been produced except for the truth of the gospel—even before the gospel was true.

And the German translation of Karl Adam Heinrich Kellner (BKV, Köln, 1882):

Wenn wir erwiesen haben, dass unser Evangelium älter, das Marcionitische dagegen jünger sei, so wäre es höchst absurd, dass einerseits unser Evangelium schon als ein gefälschtes erscheinen sollte, bevor ein echtes ihm den Stoff dazu geliefert hatte, andererseits das Marcionitische durch das unsrige Widerspruch erfahren habe, bevor es herausgegeben war, und endlich drittens, dass das in höherem Grade als echt gelten soll, was spätern Ursprungs ist, nachdem bereits so viele wichtige Werke und Urkunden der christlichen Religion im Laufe der Zeit erschienen waren, die ohne ein echtes Evangelium, d. h. vor einem echten Evangelium, nicht hätten erscheinen können.

According to the New Testament scholars James Carleton Paget and Frederik Mulders, referring to the quoted passage, ‘the Latin clearly states that Marcion accused the “upholders of Judaism” of having falsified Luke, not of having falsified his own Gospel’.[2]

It seems that such reading is informed by Tertullian’s own interpretation of Marcion’s views, but it is incorrect, if one takes Marcion’s perspective, as given by Tertullian (whether or not historically correct). So, let us explore the passage in more detail:

Tertullian points out that he has ‘proved’ his Gospel to be the older, compared to the Gospel of Marcion, as ‘Marcion’s has emerged later’.[3] While Tertullian is certainly referring to Luke here, in reality in Adversus Marcionem he is mostly working with Matthew. Whichever is meant (we will later see, Tertullian, by using the singular ‘nostrum’ is aggregating here the four later canonical Gospels), Tertullian adds against Marcion that it would be ‘preposterous’ (Evans), or ‘absurd’ (Kellner) (absurdum) if his Gospel ‘should be taken to have been false’ (‘als ein gefälschtes erscheinen sollte’ = should look as if it were plagiarism). Up to this point, there is no mention made about ‘upholders of Judaism’ who have ‘falsified Luke’, but Marcion is being referred to as having claimed that Tertullian’s Gospel looked like a ‘false’ one, a plagiarising one (videatur falsum). The nature of that ‘falsity’ or ‘plagiarism’ is now being further detailed by Tertullian who is still relating Marcion’s argument: ante … quam habuerit de veritate materiam, rendered by Evans as ‘before it had from the truth material’ and by Kellner ‘bevor ein echtes ihm dazu den Stoff geliefert hätte’. This section has been overlooked by Carleton Paget and Mulders, as Marcion is supposed to claim here that a) his own Gospel he regarded as the true one (verum), while he saw the Gospel of Tertullian as the false one (falsum), and c) that the falsity was a form of plagiarism of Marcion’s, as the false Gospel had taken material (Evans) or the material (Kellner: ‘den Stoff’) from the true one. With Evans explanatory addition ‘for falsehood to work on’ is only the nature of the plagiarising redactor further detailed.

Now, the next claim of Marcion, referred to by Tertullian, is even further explicating the nature of this plagiarism: ‘Marcion’s [Gospel] be believed to have suffered hostility from ours’ (Kellner: ‘das Marcionitische[4] durch das unsrige Widerspruch erfahren habe’) (Marcionis ante credatur aemulationem a nostro expertum).

In whichever way one wants to translate ‘aemulatio’, be it by ‘hostility’ (Evans), ‘Widerspruch’ (Kellner), with Lewis and Short’s dictionary as ‘an assiduous striving to equal or excel another in any thing, emulation’, or with Cicero a ‘defective emulation which is similar to rivalry’,[5] it is clear that Marcion believed, the Gospel of Luke (and, as we will see from Tertullian’s report, also the other later canonical Gospels) to be a bad copy of his own, a copy from which is own true Gospel had suffered (Evans) or was even contradicted (Kellner).

As important as this information is the further detail of when such copying and suffering or contradicting took place. Tertullian adds in his report: ante … quam et editum, rendered by Evans as ‘before it was even published’, by Kellner as ‘bevor es herausgegeben war’, the subject of this sentence being ‘Marcionis [evangelium]’. And although Kellner misses to translate the ‘et’, both translators agree that according to Marcion (as reported by Tertullian), he had complained that the false Gospel of Tertullian had taken (Kellner: its) material from Marcion’s true one, even before Marcion had published his true Gospel.

And Tertullian is giving the ultimate point of Marcion’s claim, namely that this Gospel ‘should be reckoned more true, even after the publication to the world of all those great works and evidences of the Christian religion’ (Kellner: ‘dass das in höherem Grade als echt gelten soll, was spätern Ursprungs ist, nachdem bereits so viele wichtige Werke und Urkunden der christlichen Religion im Laufe der Zeit erschienen waren’): postremo id verius existimetur quod est serius, post tot ac tanta iam opera atque documenta Christianae religionis saeculo edita.

According to this third and ultimate point, Marcion is said to have made the – for Tertullian certainly highly absurd – claim that his Gospel was the true one, despite the fact that it was published lately (quod est serius) compared to the publication of those opera atque documenta of the Christian religion, by which he means the later canonical Gospels.

Having gone through this text, it is clear that according to Marcion’s view, his own, the true Gospel, stood at the beginning, on the basis of which the alteration was made, a bad copying of and a taking of material from his own Gospel. This plagiarism had taken place, even before he had published this text. And yet, he maintained that because of the plagiarised nature of the other works and documents, his own Gospel remained to be the true one, despite those others having been published before he himself did publish his own, as we know, by adding to it the Antitheses in which precisely he made those claims, as Tertullian in Adversus Marcionem IV 1-4 first comments on Marcion’s Antitheses. As a second defense of his Gospel, Marcion, only now also seems to have added the collection of 10 Pauline Letters to flag up the consistency between his Gospel and the Gospel of which Paul spoke in his writings.


[1] The interpretation of which in my Marcion and the Dating of the Synoptic Gospels (2014) had been criticised by James Carleton Paget and Frederik Mulders. See James Carleton Paget, 'Marcion and the Resurrection: Some Thoughts on a Recent Book', Journal for the Study of the New Testament 35 (2012), 74-102 and Frederik Mulders, in his impressively well documented and carefully edited blog (
[2] J. Carleton Paget, ‘Marcion and the Resurrection: Some Thoughts on a Recent Book’ (2012), 94 n. 47, also quoted by Frederik Mulders in the before mentioned blog entry.
[3] The German translation of ‘Marcionis’ with ‘Marcionitische [Evangelium]’ is, of course, imprecise and already an interpretation, based on the assumption of the Gospel not being that of Marcion, but only of Marcionite use or character.
[4] On Kellner’s tendentious translation of Marcionis with ‘Marcionitische’, see the above note.