Malankara World

THE GOSPELS IN THE SECOND CENTURY

AN EXAMINATION OF THE CRITICAL PART OF A WORK ENTITLED
'SUPERNATURAL RELIGION'

By W. Sanday, M.A.


APPENDIX

SUPPLEMENTAL NOTE ON THE RECONSTRUCTION OF MARCION'S GOSPEL

If the reader should happen to possess the work of Rönsch, Das Neue Testament Tertullian's, to which allusion has frequently been made above, and will simply glance over the pages, noting the references, from Luke iv. 16 to the end of the Gospel, I do not think he will need any other proof of the sufficiency of the grounds for the reconstruction of Marcion's Gospel, so as at least to admit of a decision as to whether it was our present St. Luke or not.

Failing this, it may be well to give a brief example of the kind of data available, going back straight to the original authorities themselves.

For this purpose we will take the first chapter that Marcion preserved entire, Luke v, and set forth in full such fragments of it as have come down to us.

We take up the argument of Tertullian at the point where he begins to treat of this chapter.

In the fourth book of the treatise against Marcion Tertullian begins by dealing with the Antitheses (a sort of criticism by Marcion on what he regarded as the Judaising portions of the Canonical Gospel), and then, in general terms, with the actual Gospel which Marcion used. From the general he descends to the particular, and in c.6 Tertullian pledges himself to show in detail, that even in those parts of the Gospel which Marcion retained there was enough to refute his own system.

Marcion's Gospel began with the descent of Jesus upon Capernaum in the fifteenth year of Tiberias. Tertullian makes points out of this, also from the account of His preaching in the synagogue and of the expulsion of the devil. After this incident Marcion's Gospel represented our Lord as retiring into solitude. It did this as it would appear in words very similar to those of the Canonical Gospel. I place side by side the language of Tertullian with that of the Vulgate (Codex Fuldensis, as given by Tregelles). I have also compared the translation in the two codd., Vercellensis and Veronensis, of the Old Latin in Bianchini's edition. It will be remembered however that Tertullian is admitted to have Marcion's (and _not_ the Canonical) Gospel before him, and he probably translates directly from that.

In solitudinem procedit.... Detentus a turbis: _Oportet me,_ inquit, _el aliis civitatibus_ _annuntiare regnum dei._

Luke v. 42, 43: Ibat in desertum sertum locum ... et detinebant illum ne discederet ab eis. Quibus ille ait quia, Et aliis civitatibus oportet me evangelizare regnum dei.

His discussion of the fifth chapter Tertullian begins by asking why, out of all possible occupations, Christ should have fixed upon that of fishing, to take from thence His apostles, Simon and the sons of Zebedee. There was a meaning in the act which appears in the reply to Peter, 'Thou shalt catch men,' where there is a reference to a prophecy of Jeremiah (ch. xvi. 16). By this allusion Jesus sanctioned those very prophecies which Marcion rejected. In the end the fishermen left their boats and followed Him.

De tot generibus operum quid utique ad piscaturam respexit ut, ab illa in apostolos sumeret _Simonem et filios Zebedaei ... _dicens Petro _trepidanti de copiosa indagine piscium: ne time abhinc enum homines eris capiens...._ Denique _relictis naviculis secuti sunt ipsum..._

Luke v. 1-11:[1] Factum est autem cum turbae irruereut in eum et ipse stabat secus stagnum Gennesareth:[2] et vidit duas naves....[3] Ascendens in unam navem quae erat Simonis...[4] dixit ad Simonem, Duc in altum, et laxate retia vestra in capturam. [6]Et cum hoc fecissent concluserunt piscium multitudinem copiosam.... [7]Et impleverunt ambas naviculas ita ut mergerentur. [8]Quod cum videret Simon Petrus, procidit ad genua Jesu.... [9]Stupor enim circumdederat eum ... [10]similiter autem Jacobum et Johannem filios Zebedaei.... Et ait ad Simonem Jesus, Noli timere, ex hoc jam homines eris capiens. [11]Et subductis ad terram navibus relictis omnibus secuti sunt illum.

For Noli timere &c., cod. a has, Noli timere, jam amodo eris vivificans homines; cod. b, Nol. tim., ex hoc jam eris homines vivificans.

In passing to the incident of the leper, Tertullian argues that the prohibition of contact with a leper was figurative, applying really to the contact with sin. But the Godhead is incapable of pollution, and therefore Jesus touched the leper. It would be in vain for Marcion to suggest that this was done in contempt of the law. For, upon his own (Docetic) theory, the body of Jesus was phantasmal, and therefore could not receive pollution: so that there would be no real contact or contempt of the law. Neither, as Marcion maintained, did a comparison with the miracle of Elisha tend to the disparagement of that prophet. True, Christ healed with a word. So also with a word had the Creator made the world. And, after all, the word of Christ produced no greater result than a river which came from the Creator's hands. Further, the command of Jesus to the leper when healed, showed His desire that the law should be fulfilled. Nay, He added an explanation which conveyed that He was not come to destroy the law, but Himself to fulfil it. This He did deliberately, and not from mere indulgence to the man, who, He knew, would wish to do as the law required.

Argumentatur ... _in leprosi purgationem ... Tetigit leprosum_ ... Et hoc opponit Marcion ... Christum ... verbo solo, et hoc semel functo, curationem statim repraesentasse. Quantam ad gloriae humanae aversionem pertinebat, _vetuit eum divulgare_. Quantum autem ad tutelam legis jussit ordinem impleri. _Vade, ostende te sacerdoti, et offer munus quod praecepit Moyses_.... Itaque adjecit: _ut sit vobis in testimonium_.

Luke v. 12-14: [12] Ecce vir plenus lepra: et videns Jesum ... rogavit eum dicens, Domine, si vis, potes me mundare. [13] Et extendens manum tetigit illum dicens, Volo, mundare. Et confestim lepra discessit ab illo. [14] Et ipse praecepit illi ut nemini diceret, sed Vade ostende te sacerdoti, et offer pro emundatione tua sicut praecepit Moses, in testimonium illis.

For emundatione in ver. 14, a has purgatione; b as Vulg. Both a and b have the form offers (see Rönsch, It. u. Vulg. p. 294), b the plural sacerdotibus. Both codd. have a variation similar to that of Marcion, ut sit etc.; a inserts hoc.

Next follows the healing of the paralytic, which was done in fulfilment of Is. xxxv. 2. The miracle also itself in its details was a special and exact fulfilment of the prophecy contained in the next verse, Is. xxxv. 3. That the Messiah should forgive sins had been repeatedly prophesied, e.g. in Is. liii. 12, i. 18, Micah vii. 18. Not only were these prophecies thus actually sanctioned by Christ, but, in forgiving the sins of the paralytic, He was only doing what the Creator or Demiurge had done before Him. In proof of this Tertullian appeals to the examples of the Ninevites, of David and Nathan, of Ahab, of Jonathan the son of Saul, and of the chosen people themselves. Thus Marcion was doubly refuted, because the prerogative of forgiveness was asserted of the Messiah in the prophecies which he rejected and attributed to the Creator whom he denied. In like manner, when Jesus called Himself the 'Son of Man,' He did so in a real sense, signifying that He was really born of a virgin. This appellation too had been applied to Him by the prophet Daniel. (Dan. vii. 13, iii. 25). But if Jesus claimed to be the Son of Man, if, standing before the Jews as a man, He claimed as man the power of forgiving sins, He thereby showed that He possessed a real human body and not the mere phantasm of which Marcion spoke.

_Curatur_ et _paralyticus_, et quidem in coetu, spectante populo... Cum redintegratione membrorum virium quoque repraesentationem pollicebatur: _Exsurge et tolle grabatum tuum;_--simul et animi vigorem ad non timendos qui dicturi erant: _Qui dimittet peccata nisi solus deus?_... Cum Judaei merito retractarent non posse hominem _delicta dimittere_ sed _deum solum_, cur... _respondit, habere eum potestatem dimittendi delicta_, quando et _filium hominis_ nominans hominem nominaret?

Luke v. 17-26: [17] Et factum est in una dierum et ipse sedebat docens.... [18] Et ecce viri portantes in lecto hominem, qui erat paralyticus, et quaerebant eum inferre... [19] et non invenientes qua parte illum inferrent prae turba,... per tegulas... summiserunt illum cum lecto in medium ante Jesum. [20] Quorum fidem ut vidit, dixit, Homo, remittuntur tibi peccata tua. [21] Et coeperunt cogitare Scribae et Pharisaei, dicentes, Quis est hic qui loquitur blasphemias? quis potest dimittere peccata nisi solus deus? [22] Ut cognovit autem Jesus cogitationes eorum, respondens dixit ad illos. ... [23] Quid est facilius dicere, Dimittuntur tibi peccata, an dicere, Surge et ambula? [24] Ut autem sciatis quia filius hominis potestatem habet in terra dimittere peccata, ait paralytico, Tibi dico, surge, tolle lectum tuum et vade in domum tuam. [25] Et confestim surgens ... abiit in domum suam.

Grabatum is the reading of a in ver. 25.

Marcion drew an argument from the calling of the publican (Levi)-- one under ban of the law--as if it were done in disparagement of the law. Tertullian reminds him in reply of the calling and confession of Peter, who was a representative of the law. Further, when he said that 'the whole need not a physician' Jesus declared that the Jews were whole, the publicans sick.

_Publicanum_ adlectum a domino ... dicendo, _medicum sanis non esse necessarium sed male habentibus_...

Luke v. 27-32: [27] Et post hoc exiit et vidit publicanum ... et ait illi, Sequere me.... [30] Et murmurabant Pharisaei et Scribae eorum... [31] et respondens Jesus dixit ad illos, Non egent qui sani sunt medico sed qui male habent.

The question respecting the disciples of John is turned against Marcion, as a recognition of the Baptist's mission. If John had not prepared the way for Christ, if he had not actually baptized Him, if, in fact, there was that diversity between the two which Marcion assumed, no one would ever have thought of instituting a comparison between them or the conduct of their disciples. In His reply, 'that the children of the bridegroom could not fast,' Jesus virtually allowed the practice of the disciples of John, and excused, as only for a time, that of His own disciples. The very name, 'bridegroom,' was taken from the Old Testament (Ps. xix. 6 sq., Is. lxi. 10, xlix. 18, Cant. iv. 8); and its assumption by Christ was a sanction of marriage, and showed that Marcion did wrong to condemn the married state.

Unde autem et Joannes venit in medium?... Si nihil omnino administrasset Joannes ... nemo _discipulos Christi manducantes et bibentes_ ad formam _discipulorum Joannis assidue jejunantium et orantium_ provocasset.... Nunc humiliter reddens rationem, quod _non possent jejunare filii sponsi quamdiu cum eis esset sponsus, postea vero jejunaturos_ promittens, _cum ablatus ab eis sponsus esset_.

Luke v. 33-35: [33] At illi dixerunt ad eum, Quare discipuli Johannis jejunant frequenter et obsecrationes faciunt, ... tui autem edunt et bibunt? [34] Quibus ipse ait, Numquid potestis filios sponsi dum cum illis est sponsus facere jejunare? [35] Venient autem dies cum ablatus fuerit ab illis sponsus, tune jejunabunt in illis diebus.

In ver. 33, for obsecrationes a has orationes, and for edunt manducant: a and b also have quamdiu (Vulg. cum) in ver. 35.

Equally erroneous was Marcion's interpretation of the concluding verses of the chapter which dealt with the distinction between old and new. He indeed was intoxicated with 'new wine'--though the real 'new wine' had been prophesied as far back as Jer. iv. 4 and Is. xliii. 19--but He to whom belonged the new wine and the new bottles also belonged the old. The difference between the old and new dispensations was of developement and progression, not of diversity or contrariety. Both had one and the same Author.

Errasti in illa etiam domini pronuntiatione qua videtur nova et vetera discernere. Inflatus es _utribus veteribus_ et excerebratus es _novo vino_: atque ita _veteri_, i.e. priori evangelio _pannum_ haereticae _novitatis adsuisli ... Venum novum_ is _non committit in veteres utres_ qui et veteres utres non habuerit, et _novum additamentum nemo inicit veteri vestimento_ nisi cui non defuerit vetus vestimentum.

Luke v. 36-38: [36] Dicebat autem et similitudinem ad illos quia nemo commissuram a vestimento novo inmittit in vestimentum vetus.... [37] Et nemo mittit vinum novum in utres veteres.... [38] Sed vinum novum in utres novos mittendum est.

Of the phrases peculiar to Tertullian's version of Marcion's text, a has pannum (-no) and adsuisti (-it).

It is observed that Tertullian does not quote verse 39, which is omitted by D, a, b, c, c, ff, l, and perhaps, also by Eusebius.

Two of the Scholia of Epiphanius (Adv. Haer. 322 D sqq.), nos. 1 and 2, have reference to this chapter.

[Greek: Echul. a. Apelthon deixon seauton to hierei kai prosenenke peri tou katharismou sou, kathos prosetaxe Mousaes, hina ae marturion touto humin.]

Luke v. 14. [Greek: Apeltheon deixon seauton to hierei, kai prosenenke peri tou katharismou sou, kathos prosetaxen Mousaes, eis marturion autois.]

v.l. [Greek: hina eis marturion] (D'1, [Greek: ae] D'2) [Greek: humin touto] D, (a, b), c, ff, l.

The comment of Epiphanius on this is similar to that of Tertullian. To bid the leper 'do as Moses commanded,' was practically to sanction the law of Moses. Epiphanius expressly accuses Marcion of falsifying the phrase 'for a testimony unto them.' He says that he changed 'them' to 'you,' without however, even in this perverted form, preventing the text from recoiling upon his own head [Greek: diestrepsas de to rhaeton, o Markion, anti tou eipein 'eis marturion autois' marturion legon 'humin.' kai touto saphos epseuso kata taes sautou kephalaes].

[Greek: Echol. B'. Hina de eidaete hoti exousian echei ho uhios tou anthropou aphienai hamartias epi taes gaes.]

Luke v. 24. [Greek: Hina de eidaete hoti exousian echei ho uhios tou anthropou epi taes gaes aphienai hamartias.]

In this order, [Hebrew aleph], A, C, D, rel., a, c, e, Syrr. Pst. and Hcl., (Memph.), Goth., Arm., Aeth.; [Greek: ex. ech.] after [Greek: ho, hu. t. a.], B, L, [Greek: Xi symbol], K, Vulg., b, f, g'1, ff, l.

By calling Himself 'Son of Man,' Epiphanius says, our Lord asserts His proper manhood and repels Docetism, and, by claiming 'power upon earth,' He declares that earth not to belong to an alien creation.

Reverting to Tertullian, we observe, (1) that the narrative of the draught of fishes, with the fear of Peter, and the promise _in this form_, 'Thou shalt catch men,' ([Greek: Mae phobou apo tou nun anthropous esae zogron]; the other Synoptists have, [Greek: Deute opiso mou, kai poiaeso humas halieis anthropon]), are found only in St. Luke; (2) that the second section of the chapter, the healing of the leper, is placed by the other Synoptists in a different order, by Mark immediately after our Lord's retirement into solitude (= Luke iv. 42-44), and by Matthew after the Sermon on the Mount; the phrase [Greek: eis marturion autois] is common to all three Gospels, but in the text of St. Luke alone is there the variant Ut sit vobis &c.; (3) that, while the remaining sections follow in the same order in all the Synoptics, still there is much to identify the text from which Tertullian is quoting with that of Luke. Thus, in the account of the case of Levi, the third Evangelist alone has the word [Greek: telonaen] (=publicanum) and [Greek: hugiainontes] (=sani; the other Gospels [Greek: ischontes] =valentes); in the question as to the practice of the disciples of John, he alone has the allusion to prayers ([Greek: deaeseis poiountai]) and the combination 'eat and drink' (the other Gospels, [Greek: ou naesteyousin]): he too has the simple [Greek: epiblaema], for [Greek: epiblaema rhakous agnaphou]. It seems quite incredible that these accumulated coincidences should be merely the result of accident.

But this is only the beginning. The same kind of coincidences run uniformly all through the Gospel. From the next chapter, Luke vi, Marcion had, in due order, the plucking of the ears of corn on the sabbath day ('rubbing them with their hands,' Luke and Marcion alone), the precedent of David and his companions and the shewbread, the watching _of the Pharisees_ (so Luke only) to see if He would heal on the sabbath day, the healing of the withered hand--with an exact resemblance to the text of Luke and divergence from the other Gospels (licetne animam liberare an perdere? [Greek: psuchaen apolesai] Luke, [Greek: apokteinai] Mark), in the order and words of Luke alone, the retreat into the mountain for prayer, the selection of the twelve Apostles, and then, in a strictly Lucan form and introduced precisely at the same point, the Sermon on the Mount, the blessing on 'the poor' (not the 'poor in spirit'), on those 'who hunger' (not on those 'who hunger and thirst after righteousness'), on those 'who weep, for they shall laugh' (not on those 'who mourn, for they shall be comforted'), with an exact translation of St. Luke and difference from St. Matthew, the clause relating to those who are persecuted and reviled: then follow the 'woes;' to the rich, 'for ye have received your consolation;' to 'those who are full, for they shall hunger;' to 'those who laugh now, for they shall mourn:' and so on almost verse by verse.

It is surely needless to go further. There are indeed very rarely what seem to be reminiscences of the other Gospels (e.g. 'esurierunt discipuli' in the parallel to Luke vi. 1), but the total amount of resemblance to St. Luke and divergence from St. Matthew and St. Mark is overwhelming. Of course the remainder of the evidence can easily be produced if necessary, but I do not think it will long remain in doubt that our present St. Luke was really the foundation of the Gospel that Marcion used.

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