Markus Vinzent's Blog

Friday, 22 November 2013

Papyrus Egerton 2 / P. Köln 255, The Gospel of Peter and Marcion

Reading the book by Francis Watson, Gospel Writing (Grand Rapids, Cambridge, 2013), and working on the commentary on Marcion's Gospel (and the reconstruction of its text), especially the two passages on the healing of the leper (par. Luke 5:12-4) and the question of  whether one should pay tax to the king (par. Luke 20:20-6), I noticed that the 'unknown gospel', preserved in the fragments of Papyrus Egerton 2/P. Köln 255, displays the same synoptic feature which I have found with regards to the relation between the Gospel of Peter, the canonical gospels and Marcion (see the previous post on this). 

Hence when Francis Watson in his mentioned study states that a ‘comparison of the Markan version with Matthew 8.1-4 and Luke 5.12-16 does not produce any significant findings in relation to GEger [= Papyrus Egerton 2/P. Köln 255]’,[1] a closer look at the nature of what these papyri preserved us, indeed, sheds further light on the relation between our early Christian gospels.

Here follows Wieland Willker's translation and comments:

Fragment 1 Verso
[...] And Jesus said to the lawyers: "Punish every wrongdoer and transgressor, and not me. [...]* he does, how does he do it?"
And turning to the rulers of the people he said this word: "Search the scriptures, in which you think you have life. These are they, which testify about me. Do not suppose that I have come to accuse you to my father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, in whom you have hoped."
And they said: "We know that God spoke to Moses,but as for you, we do not know, where you are from."
Jesus answered and said to them: "Now is accused your disbelief in those who have been commended by him. For had you believed Moses, you would have believed me. For about me he wrote to your fathers [...]"
------* Possible reconstructions:
"Judge the deeds, how he does, what he does."
"Because an outlaw does not know, how he does, what he does."
"Because it's unexplained, how he does, what he does."
"And see, how he does, what he does."
"Who is condemning, how he does, what he does."

Fragment 1 Recto
[...] and taking up stones together to stone him. And the rulers laid their hands upon him to seize him and hand him over to the crowd. And they could not take him because the hour of his arrest had not yet come. But the Lord himself, escaping from their hands, withdrew from them.
And behold, a leper coming to him, says: "Teacher Jesus, while traveling with lepers and eating together with them in the inn, I myself also became a leper.* If therefore you will, I am clean."
And the Lord said to him: "I will, be clean."
And immediately the leprosy left him. And Jesus said to him: "Go show yourself to the priests and offer concerning the cleansing as Moses commanded and sin no more [...]"
* (Schmidt:) You look for the lepers and were eating with publicans. Have mercy, I am like them.
The original reconstruction is factually impossible (traveling with lepers), therefore this new one.

Fragment 2 Recto
Coming to him, they tested him in an exacting way, saying: "Teacher Jesus, we know that you have come from God, for what you do testifies beyond all the prophets. Therefore tell us, is it lawful to pay to kings the things which benefit their rule? Shall we pay them or not?"
But Jesus, perceiving their purpose and becoming indignant said to them: "Why do you call me teacher with your mouth, not doing what I say? Well did Isaiah* prophesy concerning you, saying: 'This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain they worship me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men...'"
Jes 29:13 (NRS): The Lord said:
"Because these people draw near with their mouths and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their worship of me is a human commandment learned by rote, ..."

Fragment 2 Verso
(unfortunately this fragment is in such a bad state, that it cannot be sufficiently reconstructed. What follows is first the text which can be reconstructed pretty sure and then some more speculative restaurations.)
"(...) shut up (...) has been subjected uncertainly (...) its weight unweighted?"
And when they where perplexed at the strange question, Jesus, as he walked, stood on the lip of the Jordan river, stretching out his right hand, filled it with (...) and sowed upon the (...). And the (...) water (...) the (...). And (...) before them, he brought forth fruit (...) much (...) for joy (...)
(Dodd:) "When a husbandman has enclosed a small seed in a secret place, so that it is invisibly buried, how does its abundance become immeasurable?"
And when they where perplexed at the strange question, Jesus, as he walked, stood still upon the verge of the River Jordan, and stretching out his right hand, he filled it with water and sprinkled it upon the shore. And thereupon the sprinkled water made the ground moist, and it was watered before them and brought forth fruit...
(Schmidt:) "Why is the seed enclosed in the ground, the abundance buried? Hidden for a short time, it will be immeasurable."
And when they where perplexed at the strange question, Jesus, as he walked, stood on the banks of the River Jordan, and stretching out his right hand, he filled it with seed and sowed it upon the ground. And thereupon he poured sufficient water over it. And looking at the ground before them, the fruit appeared...
(Cerfaux:) "(...) enclosed like me, buried, uncertain, and making possible immeasurable abundance?"
And when they where perplexed at the strange question, Jesus, as he walked, stood on the banks of the River Jordan, and stretching out his right hand, he took a fig-tree and planted it in the river. And on the water, the roots spread out and fruit appeared...
(Lietzmann:) And when they where perplexed at the strange question, Jesus, as he walked, stood on the banks of the River Jordan, and stretching out his right hand, he filled it with water and sowed on the ground. And the sprinkled waterpurified(?) the ground. (...) and coming out before them, the fruit appeared.
(Lagrange:) And when they where perplexed at the strange question, Jesus walked at the banks of the River Jordan, and stretching out his right hand, he filled it with sand and sowed seed on the sand. And then he poured running water over it. And it run to seed and coming out before them, the fruit appeared.

Though the fragment cannot be reconstructed sufficiently, the meaning can be found:
A small seed in the ground is hidden and invisible. How does its abundance become immeasurable?
(By growing and bringing fruit.)
To clarify this, Jesus performs a miracle: He walks up to the river Jordan and with the water he gives rise to a spontaneous ripening of fruit. (much, for joy!)
Possible parallel from Ezekiel 17:5-8:
17:5 Then he took a seed from the land, placed it in fertile soil; a plant by abundant waters, he set it like a willow twig. 6 It sprouted and became a vine spreading out, but low; its branches turned toward him, its roots remained where it stood. So it became a vine; it brought forth branches, put forth foliage. [...] 8 it was transplanted to good soil by abundant waters, so that it might produce branches and bear fruit and become a noble vine.

Willker does not provide a translation of the very fragmentary fragment 3 - but from the few characters it seems to follow that a parallel text to John 10:30-9 had been written down.

Let us begin our short investigation by first looking at the list of canonical parallels to Papyrus Egerton 2/P. Köln 255 which have partly already been established by Wieland Willker at his fantastic website on Papyrus Egerton 2/P. Köln 255 (to whom I also owe thanks for the provision of the images above):
1.      Debate over Credentials (l. 1-24):
John 5:39, 5:45, 9:29, 5:46-7 (see also John 3:2, 7:27-8, 8:14, 10:25, 12:31)
2.      Attempt to Seize Jesus (l. 25-34)
John 10:31, 8:59, 7:30, 8:20, 10:39 (see also TG 1:9 = Luke 4:30)
3.      The Healing of the Leper (l. 35-47)
Matth. 8:2-4, Mark 1:40-4, Luke 5:12-4, 17:12-9 (only the last part [do not sin anymore]: John 5:14, 8:11)
4.      Debate with False Questioners (l. 50-66)
Matth. 22:15-22, Mark 12:13-7, Luke 20:20-6 (= TG 16), TG 2:46 (see also Matth. 15:7-9, Mark 7:6-7, Luke 6:46, John 3:2)
5.      Miraculous Fruit (l. 67-82)
No clear parallel
6.      Further Violence Against Jesus (l. 89-94)
John 10:30-9
We can take from this list the following:
The opening text of what has been preserved of this unknown gospel (section 1 and 2 of Papyrus Egerton 2/P. Köln 255) has close parallels with John, but with none other of the canonical gospels. There are neither parallels in this section with Marcion’s Gospel. As soon as there are parallels, however, a very interesting observation can be made. Beginning with section 3 of Papyrus Egerton 2/P. Köln 255, – and only in those texts parallel between the unknown Gospel and Marcion’s Gospel do we also find literal parallels between this unknown gospel and the Synoptics. Where Marcion’s text ends, the parallelism among the Synoptics and the unknown gospel breaks off. Similar with section 4 of Papyrus Egerton 2/P. Köln 255. The question of the tribute money is part of Marcion’s Gospel, and again we find literal parallels between the Synoptics and the unknown gospel. Yet, the final section 5 of what is preserved has neither a parallel with Marcion nor do we find parallels with the Synoptics.
We can conclude: Very similar to what I previously have shown with regards to the Gospel of Peter it is also the case with the unknown gospel of Papyrus Egerton 2/P. Köln 255 that the mentioned fragmentary gospels, the Synoptics (and sometimes even John) provide parallel text (often literal parallels) with each other and with Marcion’s Gospeltext, where this exists and is attested for. As soon as Marcion’s text is missing or verses declared as being absent by our early witnesses, the parallelism between the other gospels (canonical and non-canonical) stops, or is reduced to dual parallelisms (as for example between the unknown gospel and John), or we find singular traditions in any of these gospels.

[1] F. Watson, Gospel Writing (2013), 322.

In an email, a colleague replied to this post:

Dear Markus, I read your recent post on Papyrus Egerton2 with its fascinating observations. I enclose an early thesis done by a Japanese scholar in Germany. Helmut Koester depended on it heavily in his treatment of the papyrus which led him to believe that it is independent from the known synoptic Gospels. it's primitive character though could support your idea that this could be Marcion's. However, a question came to my mind when I read it for the first time; in the saying:

Coming to him, they tested him in an exacting way, saying: "Teacher Jesus, we know that you have come from God, for what you do testifies beyond all the prophets. Therefore tell us, is it lawful to pay to kings the things which benefit their rule? Shall we pay them or not?"

I noticed that the author strips the saying of its narrative character in the Synoptic tradition (Jesus standing before the public while the Pharisees and Herodians try to entrap him by asking him whether to render the taxes to the Caesar). The story in the synoptic tradition has specific characters (Caesar, Pharisees and Herodians) and a plot that fits perfectly in the controversies of tax-paying and the Temple in Judaea.  in Papyrus Egerton2 Caesar is rendered to "kings..." no mention of the Pharisees and Herodians (unless they were mentioned before "Coming to him" in a lost fragment).  The saying becomes an Apophthegmata leading to a timeless Wisdom saying (what to do with the political authority.. whatever it is "kingS")
This makes me question why would the Egerton2 story would be presumed earlier while a tendency to strip the saying of its Sitz im Leben could be inferred? 

Here my answer to my colleague:

You have picked the right text - which, as you will see, will support the hypothesis that P. Egerton 2 is related to Marcion and, in this instance, a more truthful witness to Marcion than to the Synoptics. While Luke 20:20 is not attested for (hence, we don't know whether Marcion referred to the procurator), it is very interesting that Tertullian, giving us in Adv. Marc. IV 19.7 the information that 'that question about tribute money' he read in Marcion's Gospel and then quotes: 'And there came to him Pharisees, testing him'. Already Jason D. BeDuhn in his new book on The First New Testament. Marcion's Scriptural Canon (Salem, 2013), 180 notes that 'this wording is not found in any witness to Loke or any of the Synoptic parallels', and then adds: 'but cf. Papyrus Egerton 2: "And they, coming to test him, said ..."' Whether or not Luke 20:20 was missing, in Marcion we seem to have a reference to the Pharisees, not the Herodians. So, in Marcion, the saying has a Sitz im Leben, even if it is not as explicit as in the Synoptic tradition (which has the tendency to elaborate on historical details to make their text sound older and more historical than the one by Marcion), while Egerton2 has, indeed stripped the saying off. If you follow my argument - then Marcion seem to have been earlier than Egerton2 (had the Synoptics copied from Egerton2 or from an earlier tradition, Watson's hypothetical Sayings Collection, why would they not have copied the ending of the leper story by Egerton2, but broke off and went their own ways, as soon as Marcion's text had come to an end? If however, Egerton2 is relying on Marcion, the textual parallel between Marcion's Gospel and Egerton2 is explained and the wisdom character of the Apophthegma in Egerton2. As we don't have Marcion's wording of par. Luke 20:21-3, but only Tertullian's witness for par. Luke 20:24-5 Egerton2 may be closer to Marcion than the Synoptics, when Egerton2 states that Jesus has come from God and what he does testifies beyond all the prophets. Both, the coming from God and Jesus' action as surpassing the prophets sound Marcionite.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Review by Günther Röhser on my Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity

Professor Gunther Röhser (New Testament scholar in the protestant Faculty of Bonn University) has published a concise review of my earlier book on Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity in which he states: 'this book deserves unreserved admiration and agreement not only for its overall innovative courage, but also especially for its methodological approach, its question and the many results and detailed observations.' It is also nice to read that he adds the hope that his NT colleagues would draw the consequences from their patristic colleague 'and come to a re-judgement of the Easter tradition in early Christianity' (my trans.). The review is published Theologische Revue 109 (2013): 287-9.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Searching for info about Marcion, I found your blog ...

A very kind reader from the Dominican Republic asked me a few questions which, I thought, might also help others writing to me or reading what I have answered to this:
Searching for info about Marcion, I found your blog and I saw many articles about Marcion.
>Check out the latest entries, as I normally post fragments of what I am recently researching, and testing a few topics out. It is nice to have a scholarly discussion before publishing something.
When I read about Marcion and the Early Church, I wonder how many christians know about the historical events and facts of Christianity? People just read the Bible and nothing more.
>This is even true for many scholars. It is astonishing with how little critical understanding scholars in the history of Christianity work, of course, because there is a leading interest behind such reading. Yet, few historians would believe what, for example, many New Testament scholars take for granted. On Marcion and the Dating of the Synoptic Gospels I will have a new monograph coming out in a few weeks (see blog entry of today).
My concern is: Was the Gospel of Luke rewritten? I heard an article about a book (Marcion and Luke-Acts: A Defining Struggle by Joseph B. Tyson) that says Gospel of Luke was rewritten in Rome around 120 CE. And also the Book of Acts. So Luke and Acts were written by the same person and they say many scholars agree with that.
>The latter is what many scholars today believe, that Luke and Acts were written by the same person. But one only needs to compare the two works, and you will see - often when passages from Luke are parallel to Marcion's Gospel, both language and content differ from Acts, but are rather parallel with the Synoptics. In contrast, when passages of Luke are not present in Marcion, the cohere with Acts, but rarely with the Synoptics. I draw from this and many other indications the conclusion that Marcion is the source for Luke (and the Synoptics) and that Acts has been written by the same person who has enlarged Marcion's Gospel to become Luke's.
My question is, (since I do not know if you follow a Christian religion, in case you do or did) how this historical information of Marcion affected your view on the Bible as an inspired word of God? 
>This is for me an open question. Marcion was an extraordinarily gifted person, I even would call him an inspired writer. He was also diligent, collected Paul's letters, published them. Sat down and wrote, as I think, the very first gospel. Yes, he had developed a provocative theology which set Christianity for the first time as a separate religion, anti-thetical to Judaism. And only in the latter he was criticized by his fellows. If you want to put it in theological terms - God was able to write straight on curved lines.

Judith Lieu reviews my 'Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament'

Judith Lieu (Cambridge, UK), writes in 'The Enduring Legacy of Pan-Marcionism', Journal of Ecclesiastical History 64 (2013): 557-61 a review article on my 2011 monograph.

Her mostly kind words about the 'relatively slim and yet wide-ranging book' set out the thrust of the first two of my chapters (interestingly, almost none of the reviewers comments on the third chapter on liturgy and rituals). It humbles me that she sees my arguments taking 'up a long-lived thesis, which goes back at least to the Tübingen School of the mid-nineteenth century' (559). Although my thoughts were originally developed without looking towards Baur and others, I cannot deny that I have learned enormously from these earlier debates of the matter.

One of the major thesis of Lieu's reading of my monograph is that 'all this is premised on an assumption of chronology, "before Marcion" and "after Marcion"' (558). This is less than partially true. It is true insofar Marcion appears to be the main figure with whom Christianity as a novel concept begins and, as I had indicated only in the 2011 monograph (Lieu rightly states that 'there is little here about the making of the New Testament as such', 557-8), prior to him no Gospel as a combination of oracles and narratives in written form existed. My assumed chronology (before/after Marcion), however, and the dating of (undatable or hardly datable) texts like 1Peter, Barnabas (and we could add some more) are irrelevant for the thesis of the 2011 monograph. Irrespective of when in the second century they were written, they all display that the topic of Christ's Resurrection exclusively appears in texts which either know of Paul, quote him, or are placed in the Pauline tradition. That Marcion who collected Paul's letters and published them, gave the topic of Christ's Resurrection its boost, is the main thing that the monograph wanted to highlight and which does not seem to be rejected in principle.
Let me, however, also address what 'is much to frustrate those acquainted with the period and its problems' (559). Lieu rightly complaints that the monograph 'rarely acknowledges that nearly every text that he [the author] cites carries with it a host of interpretive difficulties'. It was the price of writing a book for a broader readership, and my (first) attempt to avoid the German footnotes. Hence, I am more than happy to provide more footnotes and discussions in my forthcoming book (see below). Indeed, 'assigning Papias to the 140s ... would be heavily contested' (new arguments will be provided and discussed in the below), and so is my denial (voiced, however, also by von Campenhausen and Koester long before) that 'the term "Gospel" with reference to a written document [has been] used before Marcion' (559; that Marcion was the one who created the label 'Gospel' for a written text is now admitted by Lieu herself in her new book, see J. Lieu, Marcion and the Making of a Heretic [Cambridge, 2015], 436: '‘The narrative account of the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus most probably was already referred to as “the Gospel”, although that title was not identified exclusively with a particular text in written form; rather, it was he who so labelled the authentic version that he “restored”. The written text with which he was familiar bore a strong resemblance to canonical Luke, particularly as attested within some surviving textual traditions, but likely it was in several respects shorter.’').
My reading of Tertullian, Against Marcion IV 5 'that Marcion himself claimed that his Gospel had been falsified' is disputed, and Lieu believes that this 'reference is undoubtedly to Marcion's claim to have removed the corruptions imposed on Paul's Gospel' (559). Her reference to Adv. Marc. I 20, however, shows that doubts are appropriate. Tertullian, here, states that Marcionites ('they') claim that 'Marcion had not invented a new [rule], but rather refurbished a rule previously debased', by which, as Tertullian shows, they mean 'the corruptions imposed on Paul's Gospel' (so J. Lieu, 559). This is true, but these are 'corruptions' made by those people who had used Marcion's Gospel, as Tertullian explains in Adv. Marc. IV 4.4, when Tertullian claims that his is the true Gospel, Marcion's the falsified, whereas Marcion held the opposite view (although Marcion always saw the Gospel not as his own, but as that of Paul!). Moreover, Tertullian adds to this in the same passage: 'that when Marcion's [Gospel] has emerged later, ours should be taken to have been false before it had from the truth material, and Marcion's be believed to have suffered hostility from ours before it was even published'.
At the latest here it becomes clear that Lieu has to admit that Marcion (or the Marcionites) had claimed that Marcion's Gospel was 'believed to have suffered hostility' from Tertullian's Gospels, hence Marcion did not only wanted to remove 'corruptions imposed on Paul's Gospel', but particularly on that Gospel which was his own and which has suffered corruptions from those Gospels that Tertullian used (Matthew, Luke ...). One may discard Marcion's claim, but one can hardly interpret Tertullian differently here - if he spoke about Paul's Gospel, how can he say that this Gospel 'has emerged later'. He is, indeed, speaking about Marcion's written Gospel which he believed was published after that of the later canonical Gospels. In contrast, Marcion believed the opposite and stated that his Gospel was written earlier than the others and the later canonical ones have taken material from it, the true one, even bevore 'it was even published'. The taking of material by those who produced the later canonical Gospels, then was the reason that Marcion was forced to publish his own Gospel - and, hence, Tertullian is right in this, that this version was, indeed, later than those others.
For this reason, the Marcionites (as in the Adamantius' dialogue I 5) claimed that the Gospels of Matth., Mark, Luke and John were 'spurious'.  It also indicates that Marcionites like Marcion could insist on both the novelty of the new edict in the nova forma sermonis while also being the conservators of tradition. When Marcion claimed that his Gospel had been falsified, he meant of course, the message of the Gospel that he referred back to Paul. The ambiguity does not arise through the modern interpreters but is given by the complex nature of Marcion's understanding of his Gospel.

Looking at my statement that 'world literature, and that is what has been written with Luke, Acts, Matthew, Mark and John [...] does not grow naturally in fields as far apart as Rome and Jerusalem, Alexandria' (92), I don't feel that I was 'forced' to it 'by the need to explain the complex literary relationships between these without the luxury of the years available to a more conventional hypothesis' (559), rather the opposite seems still true to me: people who date these texts early and indulge in the luxury of decades and voyages are forced to explain how such texts could grow naturally, especially given the fact that none of our extra-gospel literature has preserved a single trace of the Gospel-narratives prior to Marcion (and please date all the disputed texts early: all NT letters, Revelation, 1Clement, Didache, Hermas, Barnabas, Papias - unless you take his authorship of the Johannine passage for granted - ...).
I agree that my study has not taken into account 'theories of "Gospel communities", or of the interplay of oral and written traditions reflected through a variety of multi-faceted redactional lenses' (560). I hope to deal with parts of these topics at least in the forthcoming study, although I am still sceptical if we can detect 'Gospel communities'. My reading of the evidence, so far, is that Gospels are linked to teachers (see the standard reference who amongst the teachers is using which particular Gospel), and only from after the mid-second century do we know of particular Gospels being read in communities (beginning with Justin, Serapion ...).
When the reviewer detects 'a certain myopia driven by its focus on an all-explanatory thesis', only the latter is partially true. I had not set out to give a 'solution to every problem, the answer to the question of the universe', or to chase 'a particular ghost in the shadows ... with almost paranoid insistence' (561). Fortunately, despite much despair and reasons for becoming mentally destable and paranoid, I am far from loosing my rationality and - people who know me more closely will be witnesses that I am passionate, yes, but rarely loose self-criticism or negate self-scepticism. So, neither obsessed by aliens, nor driven by paranoia I would have loved to join the postmodernist reading of early Christian sources where authors disappear, little defined communities appear and a democratic system of equals guided by the Holy Spirit emerges. Yet, the evidence, as I read them, does not allow for such interpretation. When another colleague asked me a few months ago, why I am concentrating on Marcion - the simple answer is, because each time I am looking for a Gospel-writer before him, I end up nowhere, yet, the response he got, point to him being the one who moved Christianity beyond its Jewish identity, providing it with the foundational scriptures, an act, not by somebody, who himself would have been the proto-Christian (a contradiction in itself), but - as I am showing in a forthcoming article in Judaisme antique (Brepols, 2013) - he himself being of Jewish proselyte background. Of course, I entirely agree with Judith Lieu that not only 'the possibility' existed, but that it is fact that 'some were unaware of Marcion, dismissed him as of no consequence, concentrated their interest or anxieties elsewhere, or carried on regardless' (560), yet, because of the centrality that Paul's letters and the Gospel narratives won in the decades after Marcion, and specifically with Irenaeus, 'Christianity' becomes the religion of the New (and also Old) Testament, a religion that conceptualizes itself as being distinct from Judaism (and Paganism), again, an idea - as I will show in another forthcoming monograph - which cannot be found before Marcion.
So 'Pan-Marcionism' for the time after Marcion is not an invention of a paranoid scholar, but a possibility that needs to be reckoned with.
There are minor criticisms of Lieu. For example, she claims that my suggestion that Marcion proclaimed 'one loving God ... revealed by the Lord, the incarnate Love Himself' (116) 'comes more from that scholar's [Harnack's] concluding eulogies than from the early sources which identify Marcion's God as '(the) Good' (561). The latter is correct, while the former not. According to Tertullian Marcion set the antithesis not only of the god of the Law and the God of the new edict, but also that of nunc amor, nunc odium (Adv. Marc. I 16,3), hence of 'love' and 'hate', and Tertullian equates the 'principle and perfect goodness' with 'love' (Adv. Marc. I 23,3) - there is no distinction between 'Goodness' and 'Love' (how could it be?). When she claims that I suggested Paul to have been 'a disciple of Gamaliel I', she omitted that I put in front of this a 'probable', and yet, in the meantime, I would be - together with her - more sceptical about the nature and impact of the so-called 'Synod of Jamnia'. My interpretation of IgnSm. 1 on the physicality of Jesus' flesh is not derived from Kirsopp Lake's Loeb translation alone, but from the fact that Kirsopp Lake translated eis ton kyrion correctly in the context of the apographon in IgnSm. 1-3 (Take, touch me and see that I am not an incorporeal demon’). So, my interpretation was not the potential 'consequence of undue haste', but a reflected reading of Kirsopp Lake's sensitive translation.
As any author who's work is read and commented upon, I am grateful for the reviewer's engagement with my monograph and for her many suggestions that she made and which I did not mention here (for example her note on my reading of S. Hall's Melito claiming that I 'fail[] to note that Hall expressly rejects the authenticity of the fragment' [= Melito, frg. 6], yet Hall only states that the fragment 'as it now exists' [p. xvi; see xxx-xxxi] is inauthentic - and major scholars like Otto, Harnack, Bonner and Blank have correctly seen its anti-Marcionite nature, supported by the introduction: 'For writing against Marcion the divinely wise Melito says ...' Hence, there is good ground that Melito may have written a book against Marcion, even if what Anastasius quotes reflects a fourth century version of this text).
Even if one may not follow my arguments, or if one, as asked for by the reviewer 'approach this provocative volume with a proper "hermeneutic of suspicion"' (which I think should be how we should approach anything we come across), it is worth keeping in mind, when she concludes that 'in so doing they [the readers of my monograph] should not neglect the challenge to justify with equal comprehensiveness any alternative narrative that they may offer, or a refusal to attempt to do so' (561).

Just to mention at the end that in due course, the new monograph will be published by Peeters Publishers, Leuven, on Marcion and the Dating of the Synoptic Gospels:


Thursday, 29 August 2013

Characteristics of Luke?

For a substantial time, now, I am collecting the characteristics that scholars associate with Luke, to find out whether they give us insights into its author. If, as I now believe, Luke was a broadening of Marcion's Gospel, and Marcion himself has written his text, such characteristics would need to match, somehow, what we know of Marcion.
Today, I came across the following article by Dennis E. Smith,
‘Table Fellowship as a Literary Motif in the Gospel of Luke’, JBL 106 (1987): 613-38.
In its opening, Smith writes:

'Luke, as scholars have often noted, was probably the most literary of all the Gospel writers. That is, he was widely read in literature of the day and made conscious use of structures, forms, and images from popular literature in his writings.' Previous studies have noted the affinity of his writings to history, biography, and romance literature. Other studies have noted how Luke has built his argument and theology around various literary structures and themes such as "possessions" and the idea of the benefactor...'
It is interesting to note that in the discussion about the authorship, nobody has noticed that not only the well known characteristics of its high quality literature points to a conscious author (why would he almost slavishly adhere to a mediocre work like Mark?), as does the affinity to literature, but the mentioned themes such as 'possessions' and 'benefactor' match the profile of the business man and benefactor Marcion who according to Tertullian made an endowment (rather than a donation) of around 200,000 Sesterces to the Roman community.
The list is getting longer. 

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

AHRC PhD studentship on Meister Eckhart and the Parisian University

Meister Eckhart and the Parisian University in the Early 14th Century
AHRC PhD studentship on Meister Eckhart and the Parisian University

Applications are invited for an AHRC-funded PhD at Kings College London on a topic related to Meister Eckhart and the Parisian University. This is offered under the AHRC funded Project ‘Meister Eckhart and the Parisian University in the early 14th century’ and located in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at King’s College London. The post will involve reading, editing and commenting on codices of Quaestiones which are held in libraries at Rome, Erfurt, Worcester and elsewhere. The student will be supervised by Professor Markus Vinzent and co-supervised by Professor Oliver Davies.
The Studentship

 ‘One of the most important documents for early fourteenth-century thought is the Sentences commentary and “notebook” of … Prosper of Reggio Emilia … Vat. Lat. 1086. The manuscript contains a remarkable amount of information on and material from theologians active at Paris in the 1310s.’[1]
The project will investigate Cod. Vat. Lat. 1086 which dates from before 1323, containing over 500 Quaestiones (Qu.) with names and opinions of students and masters at Paris University. In addition, there exist several parallel codices in various manuscript collections elsewhere which may need investigation. On this basis, the studentship will focus on a specific topic which will be defined in conversation with the applicant to develop a Phd thesis on a specific aspect to explore Meister Eckhart’s (ca. 1260-1328/9) research environment and culture of the Parisian University in those challenging years between Aristotelianism, Thomism, Neo-Platonism, the Beguine-movement and the impact it had on his prior and posterior career at Erfurt.
These were tumultuous times when in the year 1310 Marguerite Porete was burned at the stake at the Place de Grève after 21 theologians of the University had passed judgement against her book The mirror of simple souls, Philip IV burned fifty-four Templars near Paris,[2] and the condemnation of core statements by Meister Eckhart in 1329. Amongst all the theologians from this period Eckhart, the only one after Thomas Aquinas to hold the chair of theology in Paris for a second time, is still the most widely read (and certainly one of the most controversial) theologians of that time. Amongst his surviving works, Eckhart's Qu. Parisienses are regarded as 'one of the most famous set of texts that’ not only he, but generally ‘medieval thinking has produced'.[3] Until recently, only five of such Qu. were known: three that were dated to his first magisterium in 1302/3, the other two from his second in 1311/2. While Professor Markus Vinzent wrote his Art of Detachment,[4] he re-discovered precisely in the codex under question, Cod. Vat. Lat. 1086, four more Qu. Par. that he thought were authored by Eckhart, texts which had previously been excluded as dubious. Here, the upper part of fol. 222v with the beginning of the first re-discovered Qu.:

Professor Vinzent presented his findings as invited main speaker at the International Medieval Congress Leeds in 2010.[5] As a result, the Eckhart editors (Prof. L. Sturlese and G. Steer) encouraged him to undertake a major research project to check this extraordinary discovery. In the same year, Professor Walter Senner (Angelicum, Rome) found another relatio of an unknown Qu. belonging to Eckhart in a Manuscript in Troyes, which the project aims to compare.
The re-discovered Qu. will be the core of the proposed project, and together with their source, the Cod. Vat. Lat. 1086, studied in detail to embed Eckhart and his Qu. into their codicological, historical and cultural environment: this manuscript is of crucial importance in shedding light on our Master and the broader development of philosophical, theological and juridical teaching in Paris at the beginning 14th century. Prosper's collection contains names and opinions of students, bachelors and masters (regents) of the university and preserves all the documentation which gives detailed insight into the atmosphere of learning of this European cultural centre, unparalleled by any other document. For many of those named by Prosper, this will be a first scholarly study of their bio-bibliography and their thinking.
After preliminary studies,[6] there is need for a thorough study of the manuscript (codicological and content), also in comparison with further manuscripts of similar content (which have not yet been taken into account), for example several important codices which will need to be studied in situ at Erfurt University, others in Venice, at Worcester Cathedral and in the Vatican library.

Eckhart scholarship developed primarily since F. Pfeiffer began to publish Eckhart’s German, and H. Denifle the Latin works. A new step in the critical engagement with the Dominican master was taken both by the Dominican order (who in 1935, also included the four, as they called them, ‘dubious’ questions that we are studying in this project) and by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (1936-ongoing). Almost simultaneously both parties started competing critical editions of the works of Meister Eckhart: a competition that was politically and ideologically driven, and which resulted in the withholding of vital manuscript information by the Nazi-governed German state. After the first few fascicles of the Dominican venture in Italy, their project collapsed, and Josef Quint took over the German project. After intensive preliminary studies, he published the first volumes of Eckhart’s German works in the major critical edition of the Kohlhammer Verlag (Stuttgart), while a team around Josef Koch provided the Latin works. In volume V of the Latin works, Eckhart’s hitherto known and accepted five Qu. Par. had been included, two from Cod. Vat. Lat. 1086, while four more - the so-called ‘dubious’ questions - from the same Manuscript were discarded. Since this time, the critical edition of Eckhart’s Latin works has been completed, and only a few supplementary texts are still to be added (including our newly re-discovered Qu., as the main editor L. Sturlese has indicated to the PI), and the German works are approaching completion. In a recent application to a German funding institution (Bayerische Akademie der Wissen­schaften), the PI has been asked by L. Sturlese (Lecce, Italy) and F. Loehser (Augsburg, Germany) to collaborate in the major revision of the publication of Eckhart’s German and Latin works (a long-term project lasting from 2012 to 2025).
Scholarship on the QQu., especially related to the University of Paris, has been advanced by P.  Glorieux, W.J. Courtenay and a number of other scholars. M. Grabmann researched Eckhart’s Qu. and first discovered the accepted five Qu. Par. (of which two derived from Cod. Vat. Lat. 1086). E. Longpré also drew attention to them. Ever since, they have attracted considerable scholarly interest and are regarded as the ‘most contested chapter of his [Meister Eckhart’s] thinking’.[7]
Scholarship on Eckhart’s German and Latin works is extensive, and there exist several continuously updated bibliographies, two major international Eckhart Societies and several histories of research on Eckhart. One of the gaps in this scholarship however is the re-location of his teaching into the Parisian University. Until today, very little is known about the precise nature of it (see W. Senner in the forthcoming Handbook of Eckhart, Leiden, 2012), in which the PI is involved as academic peer reviewer and reader. More will come to light when the proposed project works through what is contained in Cod. Vat. Lat. 1086.
A. Pelzer’s Catalogue description of the Vatican library, although written 80 years ago, is presently still considered the most important contribution to the study of Vat. lat. 1086. He provides a description of this manuscript, but it needs further examination and subsequent updating concerning scribal and marginal notes. P. Glorieux tried to identify not only the internal order of “reportationes”, but he also tried to assign a date to them. He supposes that Prosper might have prepared this collection from Qu. which ensued during the course of his lectures on the Sententiae as a bachelor (before 1311) and during his regency. Using the chronology of Prosper’s academic career as his basis, Glorieux argued that the ordinary and quodlibetal Qu. in group A were disputed in Paris during the academic year 1311-12. The Qu. in group B, which are grouped according to their authors, “occurred sequentially and pre­served reportations of questions disputed at Paris during the academic years 1312-14”. More recently W. Courtenay has questioned the date proposed by Glorieux; instead, he proposes 1314-15 as the likely timeframe for Prosper’s lectures on the Sententiae. After underlining the problem with the chronology of group A, Courtenay hypothesizes that this collection was assembled be­fore Prosper was sententiarius.[8] Given that nobody has until now, analyzed the content of Cod. Vat. Lat. 1086 in relation to Eckhart’s second Pari­sian magisterium, this research will be of importance in shedding light not only on the authenticity of Eckhart’s Qu., but also on their historical context and indeed on the Parisian University’s theological teaching at that time.

How and where we work: When not working at King’s College London, using photocopies and ultraviolet images of the mentioned manuscripts, we spend several months in research stays at various places where libraries hold important manuscripts (Erfurt, Venice, Rome and elsewhere) to have frequent access to the manuscripts in autopsy.

Eligibility criteria
  • Open to residents of the following countries
    European Union, United Kingdom
  • Applicants must hold a relevant MA/MPhil or a Masters-level advanced research training or equivalent.
  • Applicable subjects
    Medieval Codicology, Medieval Latin, Philosophy, Theology, Classics or another related field

Application details
Applications may be submitted
26-Jul-2013 until 15-Aug-2013
Information about the funding
Applications are invited for an AHRC-funded PhD at Kings College London on a topic related to Meister Eckhart and the Parisian University. This is offered under the AHRC funded Project ‘Meister Eckhart and the Parisian University in the early 14th century’ and located in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at King’s College London. The post will involve reading, editing and commenting on codices of Quaestiones which are held in libraries at Rome, Erfurt, Worcester and elsewhere. The student will be supervised by Professor Markus Vinzent and co-supervised by Professor Oliver Davies.
It is a fixed-term appointment for 2 years and 11 months, starting 1st September 2013.
Application procedure
Applicants should submit via email a two-page curriculum vitae, a brief letter outlining their qualification for the studentship, and the names and contact details of two academic referees to Professor Markus Vinzent, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Kings College London ( no later than Friday 15 August 2013.

Interviews are scheduled to be held in London within the following 7 to 100 days. For further information concerning the project, please contact Professor Markus Vinzent before Thursday, 08 August 2013.

[1] W.J. Courtenay, ‘Reflections …’, in: C. Schabel (ed.), Theological Quodlibeta (Leiden, 2009), 345-57, 345.
[2] R. Lerner, in: Marguerite Porete, The Mirror, trans. and intr. By E.L. Babinsky (New York, 1993), 19.
[3] Kurt Flash, Meister Eckhart (Freiburg i. Br., 2010), 113.
[4] Eckhart: Texts and Studies I (Leuven, 2011).
[5]  See JTS 63, 2012.
[6] See W.J. Courtenay (above with further lit.).
[7] W. Schüssler, ‘Gott – Sein oder Denken?’, in: Transzendenz (Paderborn, 1992), 165.
[8] W.J. Courtenay, “Reflections”, in Theological Quodlibeta II (Leiden, 2007), 352.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Thomas Aquinas on Diversity

Being asked where to find Thomas' teaching on Diversity (a quote that can be found in various contemporary writings, but either not referenced or falsely referenced), we read the following in his commentary on the Sentences d. XLIV q. 2 resp. writes as follows: '

et ideo melius est universum in quo sunt angeli et aliae res, quam ubi essent angeli tantum, quia perfectio universi attenditur essentialiter secundum diversitatem naturarum, quibus implentur diversi gradus bonitatis, et non secundum multiplicationem individuorum in una natura.


Friday, 3 May 2013

Does Marcion teach an immortal soul?

According to Tertullian, Adv. Marc. V 6,11: 'homo et res et opus et imago et similitudo et caro per terram et anima per afflatum creatoris ist'. Hence, Marcion had read Gen. 1:26 in its entirety (imago et similitudo) as a simile of the creator god. What he created, he body, but also the substance that he breathed into the created body of man, was the creator's spirit and, therefore, the soul derived from the creator (see Tert., Adv. Marc. II 5,1: 'immo et substantiam suam, per animae scilicet censum'). The soul is the subject of sin which follows temptations and leads the body to perish. The soul itself, therefore, would have been condemned to perish with the body.
Here, however, Marcion's soteriology sets in. Barbara Aland who is the sole scholar who has looked into this soteriological process more deeply, and the only one who has somehow understood Marcion ('Marcion: Versuch einer neuen Interpretation': ZKG 70, 1973, 420-47), does not carry her thoughts through to the end, but sees Marcion's concept breaking down at the problem: if the soul, too, was the creator's work - why then should the supreme God of Love care about human beings? Why not leave it to rest, as he lets the body and the world of the creator perish? Why, according to Marcion, does he promise human beings a true substance of angels ('vera substantia angelorum', Tert., Adv. Marc. III 9,4)? There is no logical breakdown, as she assumes (ibid. 443), but Marcion only follows vigorously his main theory - namely that all actions of the God of Love build on and use the products, names and stories of the creator god, in order to show the unexpectedness of Love's action. Where creatures see a breakdown of logic or system or theology - trained by our perception that was guided by the scriptures of the creator god, as soon as one realizes the revelation of the God of Love, such breakdown turns out as proofs of Love. Whereas there was no reason whatsoever to save the soul, as it was utterly a created substance by the creator god, the God of Love in his kenotic act of salvation on the cross makes the gracious gift of a true angelic substance and makes the saved human beings, what the Lord himself has been, an angel with his new angelic message (= eu-angelion).
PS: sorry for my relatively long absence from blogging - but I wanted to finish my new book on 'Marcion and the Dating of the Synoptic Gospels'. And, nice to tell you, yes, it is finished and awaits publication. As soon as I know more about the publishing process, I'll let you know.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Women in early Christianity

Writing on Marcion's impact on early Roman liturgy I have seen that contrary to our later heresiologists, he must have enjoyed for a longer time the back up and a close, positive relation to other Roman communities, even once he had started his own around the year 144. This we can see from the fact that even under Callistus, the community that was directed by this banker adopted the liturgical innovation of Sabbath fasting which according to our sources was introduced by Marcion as a ritual, an actual practice that was held until around the year 1000 AD, but was not received outside, but solely in Rome! Hence we have to reckon with a particular influence of Marcion in this town. Several other features, for example, the celebration of Easter on a Sunday and as a celebration of the Resurrection, rather than in the East according to Jewish practice on the 14 Nisan and as a celebration of the passion, where the Roman church fights a liturgical and ritual struggle with the Easterners, support a more Marcionite Christianity in Rome than in some other places. Now it is interesting to note that women leadership had waned as had Paul's memory, or at least his theology even in almost all communities (including Rome prior to Marcion, if we take 1 Clement and Hermas as examples), but we could also look at the Pseudo-Pauline literature, and their position have gained a new stronghold, once Marcion came up with Paul's letters, and based on them, gave his 'more holy women' (sanctiores feminae) a special place in the community who were meant 'to teach, to dispute, to practice exorcism, to promise cures, and also to baptize' (Tert., Adv. Marc. V 8), hence practiced not only everything that cult officers would do in a Roman cult, but with a strong emphasis on class room activity. The only thing that is not mentioned is 'prophecizing' which, of course, developed at the same time outside Rome in Asia Minor as a thread to both the Roman antithetically Jewish Marcionite tradition and to the anti-Jewish non-(or shall we say less) Marcionite tradition in Asia Minor and Gaul. It is very interesting to see that Tertullian moves precisely towards the female guided Montanists while he is writing is works against Marcion, emphasizing the prophetic nature of Christianity and developing his anti-Jewish position, branding Marcion an ally of the Jews. In between we have institution-oriented bishops like Irenaeus and many Minor Asian colleagues who move between Marcion and the Montanists, and see themselves neither as a totally new Pauline community which embraces Jews and Greeks, nor a new Prophetism, but as a third race that replaces the old world, be it Jewish or pagan, based on what they replaced, the male oriented Jewish communities and the Roman model of the male-oriented oikos where women soon have less and less self-determined space.

Hans-Georg Opitz, Introduction to his Documents of the Arian Debate (Urkunden zum Arianischen Streit)

Over the next months, a working translation will appear hear which of the (still unpublished) Manuscript by Hans-Georg Opitz of the introduction to his first volume of the Urkunden zum Arianischen Streit (Athanasius critical works, de Gruyter), an introduction that was never printed (except the small excerpt which appeared in the ZNW 33 [1934]: 131-59).
Unfortunately, one manuscript page (dealing with Eusebius of Caesarea Against Marcion) is missing, but there is a chance that I will find it again in the Athanasius archive. Although the editorial team was made aware of the existence of Opitz' manuscript, one can see from the last fascicles of the Athanasius works that the team does neither make use, nor even mention the existence of it, which is especially surprising as in vol. III, part I/3 a full length discussion of the chronology of the events of the Arian debate to the year 328 is given without any mention of Opitz' manuscript. Instead, it is stated that Opitz' death in WWII had prevented the publication of his introduction, which is, of course, correct, yet, nevertheless, the scholarly world has yet to see the full length arguments of the editor of the first volume of the Urkunden, why he opted for these documents, and also why he put them in the order in which they came.
The intention here is to give a mere literal working translation of Opitz' introduction with his notes - an edition of his text with notes that also engage with the present state of the discussion of the chronology of the beginnings of Arianism will follow in print.
Hans-Georg Opitz, The Arian Debate up to the Year 328: Texts and Studies
translated by Markus Vinzent
(work in progress)

Table of Contents



Chapter 1 – The Reports of the Church Historians

Because of the importance of the Arian debate every author dealing with the history of the church of the fourth century wrote extensively about the beginnings of this conflict with its huge impact. And yet, we are disappointed by the scarce information when seeking an exhaustive explanation for the reasons and the trigger of the dispute between the Alexandrian presbyter Arius with his bishop Alexander. The modern scholar will discover that he has at his hands hardly less source material than the authors of the past. At least the ancient authors did not digest more material than what is left to us from other sources. Indeed, there are a few events, we only need to mention the Synod of Antioch of the year 325, where we are better informed then they had been.
The present chapter deals with the reports about the conflict by the church historians. In addition, we will add the occasional notes which can be found in the literature of the fourth and fifth centuries. Likewise, the notes of Athanasius who does not give us a comprehensive account of the time before the year 328 will not need a special chapter. As later authors have often borrowed their material from previous ones, we will offer out assessment in chronological order.

Euseb’s Vita Constantini

In the second and third book of his Vita Constantini, Eusebius narrates the beginning of the conflict. As it derives from the most important historian of its time, it calls for special attention. Eusebius’ account is even more valuable as its author himself was an enormously influential participant of the synods and had some close relations to the court of the Emperor. Eusebius incorporates his report about the most important events of his time into the frame of a panegyric to the Emperor Constantine. The literary genre of an encomion on the Emperor, the nature of the Vita, urged Eusebius to describe the Arian conflict only insofar as the Emperor himself came to the fore and directed the sequence of events. For this reason, the provision of details is informative enough, but the reports are not as exhaustive and clear, as Eusebius had been capable of giving from his intimate acquaintance with the various events.
            For example, his narration begins only with Constantine getting involved with the affair after his victory over Licinius (II 61). [[All of Egypt was filled with the fights of bishops, pretending they discussed on dogmatic grounds]]. The time when the conflict began is not given, although Eusebius is not of the opinion that this struggle has come about in the East only after the victory over Licinius.[1] The remark that the conflict started when the church lived in peace, can only relate to the time before Licinius’ persecution.
            The conflict in Egypt, called a fight of bishops, was aggravated by the schism of the Melitians. When Constantin received knowledge of conflicts that threatened the unity of the church, he sent ‘a man who shone forth through his witnesses for faith in previous times’ (II 63), provided with a letter to Alexander and Arius of Alexandria. The envoy of the Emperor was the Spanish bishop Ossius of Cordoba, as Socrates informs as, complementing Eusebius’ report.[2] [[Socrates also knows about Ossius’ dogmatic position.[3]]] According to Athanasius,[4] a synod was held in Egypt together with Ossius[5] to deal with the affair of Colluthus. Eusebius adds (II 73) that the envoy of the Emperor had not only delivered the letter, but also expressed the will of his envoyer in person, hence he tried to negotiate with he parties. Ossius seems to have tried to prevent in Alexandria, as later in Antioch, a schism. In III 4 Eusebius reports of the broadening crisis. Even the statues of the Emperor have been destroyed by the mob.[6] Presumably, the Colluthians were the perpetrators, because according to Sozomenus, Athanasius reprimanded the Colluthian Ischyras for it.[7]
            III 5. In addition to the Arian and Melitian upheavels, the question of Passah bothered the Emperor, hence, he called a synod to gather in Nicaea.
            III 7. Bishops gathered coming from all countries of the East, although Eusebius must mistakenly have believed that a bishop of Persia attended. The error must have already been part of the old lists, or it has been introduced by Eusebius himself, as Nicaea was unknown amongst the Persians during the entire fourth century and only Maruta of Maipherkat asked the bishops at a synod of the year 410 to accept the canones of Nicaea.[8] We find a certain John from the land of Persia in the Nicene subscriptions.[9] As the name  jIwavnnh" Persivdo" is mentioned amongst the seats of the province of Mesopotamia, Persiv" seems to be an also otherwise known variant[10] for Pevrrh or Pershnhv[11] (so also the Coptic witness:  jIwavnnh" Persenh'"). John was the bishop of the city of Perre in the Commagene. The Scyth, mentioned by Eusebius, cannot be found in the lists.[12] On p. 80,19 a Spaniard, hence Ossius, is mentioned. The bishop of the basileuvousa povli", Silvester is not introduced by name, who was to old to go to Nicaea, was represented by two presbyters, known from the lists, namely Vita and Vincentius.
            In III 8 Eusebius gives ‘over 250’ as the number of the bishops gathered.[13] According to Eusthatius of Antioch there were 270.[14] Constantine,[15] Julius of Rome,[16] Athanasius[17] and Hilary[18] give around 300 attendants. The number of 318[19] can be found first in Liberius’ Letter to the Macedonians[20] together with the explanation of the number according to the slaves of Abraham, then also in Hilary[21] and Athanasius.[22] 250 – 300 seem to be the right indications of the number of those who attended.
            III 10 Eusebius, eventually, reports about the crucial session. Already prior to it, negotiations must have taken place. The members of the synod were divided into two parties, the leaders of which apparently were Eusebius of Nicomedia and Alexander of Alexandria.[23] In the presence of the Emperor, the synodal decrees were solemnly voted on. The session took place on 19th June.[24] The chairman addressed the Emperor (III 11). Eusebius simply calls him oJ tou' dexiou' tavgmato" prwteuvwn,[25] hence the spokesman was the leader of the party that sat right to the Emperor. According to the index of chapters of book III[26] he was bishop Eusebius, and one can assume that it was Eusebius of Nicomedia who as the most eminent bishop of the province Bithynia gave the speech. Sozomenus may have found the name of Eusebius already in his copy of the Vita,[27] but he sees in him the Church historian.[28] This one, however, cannot have been among the leaders of the synod, as he had to exculpate himself at the synod.[29]
            The tradition about the names of the chairman of the synod is inconsistent. Surely, the synod was chaired by more than one person.[30] And it was Eusebius’ note (II 13) which led to the many names in the tradition. About Ossius, Athanasius says more generally poivai ga;r ouj kaqhghvsato sunovdou.[31] In most of the lists, Ossius comes first. There are many reasons to believe that Ossius was involved in the writing of the creed.[32] According to an indication in the collection of Theodosius diaconus in the Cod. Ver. 60, Alexander of Alexandria has been the chairman of the synod.[33] The name of Eustathius of Antioch has been suggested only, since Athanasius has witnessed for his orthodoxy[34] and Jerome for his fight against the Arians,[35] and is, then, found in Theodoret and John of Antioch.[36] This legend originated as a result of the reunification of the Eustathians with the dominant church.[37] Similarly, Facundus of Hermiane[38] and the Syrians[39] call Eustathius the chairman of Nicaea. In addition, easter writers know Sylvester of Rome as the leading person.[40] Naturally, he takes the first place in western collections of the Nicene acts.[41] Against all these uncertain reports, locally biased, one needs to follow the indications in Eusebius and Athanasius. Ossius, as the senior chairman[42] and in continuous touch with the Emperor led the sessions of the synod, having as support a number of bishops. Members of this committee were surely Eustathius, Alexander of Alexandria, Eusebius of Nicomedia, for certain also Marcellus of Ancyra[43] who played an important role at the council. We do not know anything for sure about the Roman legates. Perhaps, as indicated by their place on the lists, they were given an honorary position.
            III 12. The speech of Constantine harmonizes with what he may have said in front of the bishops, as we know from the letters.[44] Therefore, Batiffol is not wrong in assuming the genuiness of the speech.[45]
            III 13. The report breaks off after the narration of the negotiations in the presence of the Emperor and the making of the decrees. Constantine supposedly said at the closing of the synod that he had gained a second victory for the church. Then follows: kata; tou' th'" ejkklhsivai ejcqrou' ejpinivkion eJorth;n tw'/ qew'/ sunetevlei. As the battle of Hadrianople against Licinius took place on 3 July 324, Constantine will have celebrated an anniversary of this victory with the bishops in Nicaea (?). The celebrations in connection with the synod were without end; on 25 July, the Emperor together with all the clerics held a spectacular diner for his Vicennalia in his palace of Nicomedia,[46] displaying all the Emperor’s pomp.[47]
            III 16-20 the letter about Easter has been included[48] which does not mention the central topics of the negations of the synod. Here, the question needs to be addressed, whether the acts of the council have been preserved. In III 14[49] we read: ejkurou'to d j h[dh kai; ejn grafh' di j uJposhmeiwvsew" eJkavstou ta; koinh' dedogmevna. This can only mean that the creed and the canons had been signed. Athanasius mentions the decree about Easter.[50] Eusebius’ remarks do not make it impossible that such a decree existed, even if it is impossible to directly prove that other acts or protocols existed.[51] The decree about Pascha is no longer extant, even if a piece of such a decree has been transmitted a number of times,[52] but this text is only a report about the fact that decisions have been made about the question of Easter, and apparently these lines are but a short summary of Constantine’s Letter.[53]
            According to III 21, at the close of the synod, Constantine made a speech. III 23 regarding the second session of the council will be dealt with at a different place.

Eusebius’ work Against Marcellus

Until now, the fragments of Marcellus of Ancyra’s book against Asterius which Eusebius incorporated in his fourth book of his work Against Marcellus have not been exhausted as a source for the earliest history of the Arian debate.[54] Here, Eusebius reports about Marcellus’ attacks against the orthodox authors (4,1). Next to Asterius, against whom Marcellus specifically is writing, Marcellus deals with and excerpts materials from the writings of Paulinus of Tyrus, Narcissus of Neronias, Eusebius the Great, namely the Nicomedian,[55] and eventually Eusebius of Caesarea to demonstrate their non-traditional, wrong teachings. It is generally known that Marcellus[56] quotes from Eusebius of Nicomedia’s Letter to Paulinus of Tyrus.[57] A comparison of Marcellus phrasing and the letter shows that Marcell gives only a report of the source. Marcellus incorporates only important catchwords into a phrase that is created by himself. Already the addition ta;" probola;" dogmativzonte" (sc. oiJ patevre") is not part of Eusebius’ letter and would have been totally rejected by the Nicomedean. To note this fact is important for assessing Marcellus’ way of dealing with his opponents. In addition, Marcellus quotes (4,4ff.) a piece of a letter by Eusebius of Caesarea to his community.[58] The section on p. 18,16-20. 22. 28-9 we meet in Urk. 23 (107,7-8. 12-3.; 108,9-10 Opitz). Here, too, Marcellus only gives a report, although without altering the meaning. These two pieces, however, point to the pre-Nicene period of the Arian debate. Marcellus assembles witnesses of written statements of bishops that sympathized with Arius’ party. This harmonizes well with his aim, to target the entire group of bishops who are friends with Arius by attacking Asterius. From this follows without doubt, how to qualify the fragments of the letters of Paulinus of Tyrus, Narcissus of Neronias and Eusebius of Caesarea which we find in Marcellus’ fragments together with the sentences of the letters from both Eusebii.
            First, Marcell quotes a piece of a letter of Paulinus of Tyrus, initiated by a remark of Asterius.[59] Apparently it is a statement of the bishop of Tyrus to which he was pushed by Eusebius of Nicomedia and his letter,[60] because Asterius speaks about the letter of Paulinus in connection with his report about Eusebius’ letter. And he quotes from the letter of Paulinus.[61] In his letter, Paulinus quoted a sentence of Origen, De principiis to support his view (p. 21,13). For Marcellus, the reference of Origen is the reason that he deals with the great Alexandrian. The quote fro Origen’s Commentary on Genesis, however which Marcellus discusses[62] can hardly have been part of Paulinus’ letter. In a later passage in chapter 4,49 and 4,51[63] Marcellus comes back to Paulinus and quotes a sentence by him which will have derived from his letter. If one takes into account the place of Paulinus’ text in Marcellus’ fragments and the mentioning of the Alexandrian Origen, the conclusion does not seem to be wrong that the fragments have been taken from Paulinus’ letter to Alexander of Alexandria. In addition, these fragments are amongst the most important sources, as in these Paulinus is the first, as far as we know, who refers to Origen as a witness in the pre-Nicene period of the dispute. The one who refers to Origen, however, will hardly and without restrictions call Christ a ktivsma, as Marcellus wants to make his readers believe.[64] How an Origenist interprets Prov. 8:22 that lead to the term ktivsma, can be seen from Eusebius in De eccl. theol. III 2. [[Marcellus of Ancyra also complaints in one of his fragments of his antieusebian work that Eusebius has called Christ a creature.]] In the fragment from chapter 4,38[65] he complaints that bishops had also adopted teachings that are missing any support from Scripture. As supporting evidence he quotes from a letter [one page = p. LXII missing]
            Here, it becomes clear why Eusebius deals so extensively with Marcellus’ attack against Paulinus of Tyrus, Narcissus and against himself. Marcellus has hit the post painful experience in Eusebius’ life, his condemnation through the synod of Antioch. That Marcellus hints at this event is without doubt, as here as well as in Antioch, Eusebius and Narcissus were the two people who were charged.
            Now, Eusebius reports about Marcellus making mention of a homily which he, Eusebius, held in Laodicea, on the basis of which Marcellus adds broad accusations against the hardnosed Palestinian. Eusebius’ does not appreciate him being mentioned, he calls the report a chatter which Marcellus has got by hearsay. The aggressive narration of Marcellus and the hardly restrained anger of Eusebius leave the historical events in the dark. But perhaps one can interpret the sayings of the two by concluding that Eusebius remained on his position which he held in Antioch and even made it public in a homily at the see of the third person who had been accused, Theodot of Laodicea.
            In addition, Marcellus reports that Eusebius had charged Marcellus of false belief and expounded his own wrong teaching from the pulpit when, on a journey, he paid a visit to Ancyra. It is hardly possible that Marcellus had received this information merely by hearsay, as Eusebius claims.[66] Marcellus was bishop of this place. If these events which Marcellus had mentioned so far, took place before Nicaea, Eusebius’ stay will have taken place on his way home from Nicaea. Paulinus of Tyrus, too, was present,[67] because Marcellus’ note that Paulinus called Christ a creature on his journey through Ancyra has to be linked to that about Eusebius.
            Eventually, Marcellus adds a number of phrases from a letter of Eusebius of Cesarea. For the first time, he quotes from this letter,[68] in order to show that Narcissus in his letter rendered Eusebius correctly.[69] Eusebius in his defense uses these quotes alternating with those of Narcissus’ letter. Therefore, they have to be attributed to the same letter. They are the following passages 4,40.41 (p. 26,4-21); 4,50 (p. 28,18-9); 4,51-2 (p. 28,22-30); 4,57 (29,19-24). Now, as the quotes 4,50.51.52 (p. 28,18-30) literally in Urk. 3,1 (p. 15,7) and 3,3 (p. 16b,2f.), they all belong to the letter of Eusebius to Ephrantion, although it it is not clear, how exactly to relate those sentences. The fragments 4,40.41 and 4,57 will be described below and attached as par. 4 and 5.








Chapter 2 - The Chronology of the Dispute and the Order of the Documents

The date of Constantine’s victory over Licinius

The chronology of the beginnings of the Arian debate 

ZNW 33 (1934): 131-59.

The chronological development of the debate and the chronology of the documents

Chapter 3 - The Documents

The list of the documents

The manuscript traditions of the texts


The acts of the 7th council


Euseb’s Vita Constantini





Theodorus Lector

Individually transmitted documents


The Cologne manuscript of Jerome

The collection of Theodosius Diaconus

Codex Parisinus lat. 1682

The western collection of canons

The syriac texts

Hilary and Ambrose

The text of the documents

Chapter 4 - The History of the Arian Debate up to the Year 328

[1] See page ### p. CXXVII.
[2] Socr., Hist. eccl. I 7,1.
[3] Socr., Hist. eccl. III 7,12.
[4] Ath., Aol. C. Ar. 74 (I 190 F) and 76 (I 193 A).
[5] See Socr., Hist. eccl. III 7,12.
[6] So also Chrys., Hom. ad pop. Ant. 21 (II 219,6 Montf.).
[7] Soz., Hist. eccl. II 25,3.
[8] Labourt, Le christianisme dans l’empire Perse (Paris, 1904), 93-4.
[9] So the Syriac list in Schulthess p. 7 no. 82; in Gelzer I 82, II 82, III 81, IV 78, V 82, VII 98, VIII 82 IX 85, XI 76. In the list of the Cod. Sinait. Gr. 1117 s. XIV nr. 37; see also the latin lists in Turner, Monumenta I 54-55. 97. 98 no. 83.
[10] Steph., s.v. Pevrsa.
[11] See Georgius Cypr., Descriptio, ed. Gelzer, no. 878 and the commentary by Hoffman.
[12] It is unclear whether it is the same as Gelzer V no. 202: Bavdio" Bospovrou.
[13] Socrates, Hist. eccl. I 8,9 who quotes Eusebius corrects the number to ‘over 300’.
[14] Theod., Hist. eccl. I 8,1.
[15] Urk. 26 (137,1; 138,9 Opitz).
[16] Ath., Apol. c. Arian. 23 (I 143D).
[17] Ath., De decr. Nic. 3 (I 210D) and Anhang Urk. 25.
[18] Hilar., Coll. Antiar. B II 9,7 (CSEL 65, 149,23 Feder).
[19] 318 Fathers are also mentioned in the previously unknown list of the Cod. Sinait. Gr. 1117 (s. XIV), edited by Benečevič, Bulletin de l’academie imperial des sciences de St Pétersbourg (1908), 6th series, 2,1, pp. 281-306. This list, without the commentary by Benečevič, has been printed by Haase, Altchristliche Kirchengeschichte nach den orientalischen Quellen (Leipzig, 1925), 258ff. The list needs a new, broad investigation (see further below), as it is the source for those lists that are not part of the Socrates-Theodosius tradition. In addition to this list and the one published by Gelzer, one also needs to add the lists, the Latin one published by Turner, and the one by Michael Syrus to explore the names of those present in Nicaea. According to a note in the Byzantinischen Neugriechischen Jahrbüchern 8 (1931) 450, Benečevič has discovered a Syriac-Greek repertory of the Fathers, dated to the 9th century. This list seems to be essentially the same as the one by Michael Syrus. Unfortunately, Benečevič had his study printed in Christianskoje Vostok 7 (1923), but because of the Russian political circumstances it had not been published. More on the number 318 can be found in Tillemont VI 805 and Hefele-Leclerq, Histoire des Conciles I 409ff. The oriental material can be found in full and with commentary in Haase, Altchristliche Kirchengeschichte nach den orientalischen Quellen (1925), 248ff.
[20] Socr., Hist. eccl. IV 12,28-29.
[21] Hilar., Coll. Antiar. B II 10 (CSEL 65, 150,5 Feder).
[22] Ath., Ep. ad Afros 2 (I 892B).
[23] The division of the synod are attested by Euseb. Caes., Hist. eccl. III 13 (83,16.19). III 10 (81,13) gives pagh'n eJkavtero" tauvthn a[gwn is incomprehensible. On the basis of III 13, the conjecture of Schwartz (Pauly-Wissowa VI 1413,40ff.) ‘to; tavgm’ for tauvthn certainly correct. It follows, that two leaders fought for the cause of their respective parties, presumably Eusebius of Nicomedia and Alexander of Alexandria.
[24] See below.
[25] 82,9.
[26] 72,18.
[27] Soz., Hist. eccl. I 19,2.
[28] Similarly, but independent of Sozomenus, Niketas Choniates, Thesaurus V 7 (PG 139,1367B). Niketas also knows a note by Theodor of Mopsuestia (see Parmentier in his edition of Theodoret, p. XCI): ‘Ut autem Theodorus Mopsuestiaeus scribit, Alexandro Alexandrino pontifici id honoris (sc. the address to the Emperor) ultro delatum est, quippe qui synodi cogendae dux et auctor exstitisset. Hunc in synodi consessu omnia ut se habeant ordine narrasse subjicit’, see p. LVI, note 3.
[29] So Urk. 18 (103,16 Opitz).
[30] See Euseb., Caes., Vita Const. II 13 (83,14).
[31] Ath., De fuga 5 (I 322D); see Opitz, Review of Haynes and Haynes himself.
[32] See also Ath., Hist. Arian. 42 (I 369B) th;n ejn Nikaiva/ pivstin ejxevqeto. Phoebadius, Adv. Arianos 23 (PL 20,30C). Irrelevant is Theodoret, Hist. eccl. II 15,9.
[33] Maassen, Geschichte der Literatur und der Quellen des kanonischen Rechts im Abendland (1870), I 547. Turner I 104. The same is found in the Arabic acts in Mansi II 1061-1062, see on the manuscripts Riedel, Die Kirchenrechtsquellen des Patriarchats Alexandrien par. 26a, p. 178.
[34] Ath., Ep. ad epp. Aeg. et Lib. 8 (I 278C).
[35] Jerome, Ep. 73,2 (CSEL 55, 14,15 Hilberg).
[36] Theod., Hist. eccl. I 7,10; on John see Acta conc. oec. I 5 (312,15).
[37] See Schwartz (Pauly-Wissowa VI 1413,58).
[38] Fac., Pro defensione VIII 1 (PL 67,711A) and XI 1 (795A).
[39] So Haase, Altchristliche Kirchengeschichte nach den orientalischen Quellen (1925), 256.
[40] Haase, Altchristliche Kirchengeschichte nach den orientalischen Quellen (1925), 256.
[41] Maassen, Geschichte der Literatur und der Quellen des kanonischen Rechts im Abendland (1870), I 40.
[42] So, with good reasons, R. Sohm, Kirchenrecht I 443 A.3 about the position of Ossius. In the list of Serdica (Ath., Apol. c. Arian. 50 [I 168A; similarly Turner, I 546]), Ossius takes the first place, followed by the Roman legates. As his chairmanship of the western synod of Serdica is assured, the same we can deduct from his place in the lists of Nicaea.
[43] Ath., Apol. c. Arian. 23 (I 143E); 32 (I 150E); and Marcellus himself in Epiph., Haer. 72,2,1 (III 256,16 Holl).
[44] See below.
[45] P. Batiffol, La paix constantinienne (1914), 332.
[46] Jerome, Chron. ad ann. 326 (231,10 Helm); see J. Maurice, Numismatique Constantienne I p. CXXXIII; III 51-2.
[47] Euseb. Caes., Vita Const. III 15.
[48] Urk. 27 Opitz.
[49] 83,27ff.
[50] Ath., De syn. 5 (I 719D); also Rufinus, X 6 (969,7). See also the remark by Atticus of Constantinople in the year 419 at the end of the copy of the acts sent to Carthage, Turner I 142 col. b.
[51] G. Loeschke, Das Syntagma des Gelasius von Kyzikus, 45 looked into this problem. But, based on Gelasius, there is no direct proof for the existence of acts. And yet, Niketas Choniates, Thesaurus V (PG 139, 1367A-B) and V 7 (1367C) says that he found information about Metrophanes of Constantinople and about the number of opponents of the Nicaenum in the acts of the synod that were handed around. However, Niketas had only consulted an anonymous copy of the History of the Church by Gelasius of Kyzikos. Bot passages of Niketas derive from Gelasius, Hist. eccl. II 5,4; 28,13; 27,11-12.
[52] Chaine, La chronologie du temps chrétienne de l’Egypte et de l’Ethiopie (1925), 49 A.1. where the various publications of this piece are given. The Greek text is printed in Pitra, Juris eccl. Grace. Hist. et Monumenta I 435-6. His old age is witnessed by the old Syriac collection of Cod. Par. Syr. 62 where the piece is part of the so-called introduction to Nicaea (Schulthesss, Die syrischen Kanones der Synoden von Nicäa bis Chalcedon, 158-9). The Arab writer, too, seems to have known the passage, see Mansi II 1048A-B.
[53] Urk. 27 Opitz; see Hilgenfeld, Der Passahstreit der alten Kirche, 367. The note on the three parts of the Empire that celebrate Easter on the correct date is as general as in Urk. 27 (147,9ff. Opitz). That Constantine mentions Cilicia amongst the provinces that celebrate Easter on the right day, while Athanasius in De syn. 5 (I 719B) and Ep. ad Afros 2 (I 892D) counts this province amongst the judaizing parts, then, following Duchesne, Révue des questions historiques 28 (1880), 26 one can explain this discrepancy with the fact tat Cilicia was at the border of the Dioceses of Asia and Oriens and, therefore, was divided between the two ways of celebrating Easter.
[54] Only E. Schwartz used the notes for his article on Eusebius of Cesarea in Pauly-Wissowa VI 1411ff.
[55] See below.
[56] In Euseb. Caes., C. Marc. 4,9-10.
[57] Urk. 8 Opitz.
[58] Urk. 23 Opitz.
[59] 20,33ff.
[60] Urk. 8 Opitz.
[61] The numbering of the fragments [by Klostermann] by which the fragments on p. 20,32ff. and p. 21,3ff. are widely set apart are not relevant. On the basis of our argument, it will be good to group fragments 87.88 (p. 204,1ff.) with frg. 32ff.
[62] 22,11ff.
[63] 28,7ff. and 28,19-20.
[64] 20,10.12.
[65] 25,31ff.
[66] Chapter 4,45.
[67] Chapter 4,49.
[68] Chapter 4,40, p. 26,14ff.
[69] In a deleted passage, Opitz stated: ‘It is not impossible to conclude that this letter of Eusebius is connected with the negotiations in Antioch. Perhaps the sentences derive from the creed that Euseb handed out to the synod of Antioch. These passages are 4,40; p. 26,4-21; 4,50; p. 28,16-9; 4,57, p. 29,21ff. 30-1. P. 30,2ff.’