Thursday, March 6, 2014

Marcionite Loadiceans (aka Ephesians)

Ƿ46 Ephesians 1:1-11
The Laodiceans epistle sat 7th in the Marcionite collection. And in many ways this was the most challenging of any for me to attempt a reproduction, due both to its interwoven textual relationship with other epistles, notably Romans in the western text and Colossians, and the lack of an easy textual guide such as Swanson's to view textual variants which might be missing in the commentary of Metzger. On the plus side I found a few wonderful sites, one of which have the entire texts and plate, like the one to the right,  of P46 (along with other Papyrii) and another with Codex Sinaitiacus, and yet another for Codex Vaticanus. [1] But fortunately most of the analysis doesn't require delving into textual variants - and mind you many of those are simply transmission errors, of the sort we see in any manuscript - but instead focuses on the separation of Catholic elements from Marcionite in the unattested text; the goal being to arrived at a minimalist text that has extremely probability of actually being in the Marcionite version. The resulting text is striking and direct.

Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem 5.17.1, informs us straight out that Marcion's version of Ephesians with titled to the Laodiceans (ad Laodicenos).  What is more striking is that there was no address in the Marcionite version, exactly as we see in the picture provided of P46 nor in Codex Sinaiticus, Vaticanus (B), 1739, 424 nor miniscule 6,was any space left for an address, effectively shooting down the Lückenhypothese. However Tertullian suggests that Paul when writing to some was writing to all (cum ad omnes apostolus scripserit dum ad quosdam) does suggest the encyclical idea might be possible. But it seems more likely the author never gave an address, and all Marcion did was add Πρὸς Λαοδικέας as the superscription when the collection was put  together. This clearly shows Colossians 4:16 and the so-called Marcionite Latin Prologue to Colossians are dependent upon Laodiceans/Ephesians in Marcionite form.

All we have done so far is recognize the antiquity of the Marcionite version, and the correctness of the lack of address. The superscript or title was secondary, as is evidence with even a cursory glance to see the later hand in many manuscripts for all epistles of the New Testament, but clearly shows that Colossians was added to the collection after Ephesians. [2]

Clear Division:

As I worked my way through the epistle, separating the Catholic and Marcionite material, it became very clear to me that Tertullian, in dedicating two entire chapters of book five of Adversus Marcionem (as much as he dedicated to the longer epistles 2 Corinthians and Romans), that almost every verse present in Marcion was covered. A quick look at the text (and I have not done a word count) shows that almost three in four words in my reconstruction is specifically attested in the heresiarch writings. That was something of a mild surprise.

But the reason for such a thorough coverage became obvious as I completed the text. Laodiceans presents such a clear Marcionite view almost without many spots a Catholic could argue otherwise. A read through explains why Tertullian devoted so much space to this letter. as you can see from the Marcionite Interlinear and my notes on the Catholic Additions to Laodiceans.

Cosmos in Early Christianity:

Over and over again when examining the Marcionite Apostolikon and Gospel, I am struck by the references to cosmic beings and events.Laodiceans core is focused on the mystery of Christ and it being revealed not to men but to the powers which ruled the world and skies. Readers will be amazed at how clear the Marcionite perspective around both verses 3:9 and 6:11-17 with the Catholic material removed.


Most interesting to me is the myth Paulus vinctus in Carcere Mamertine. One can see the origins here in Ephesians 6:20 when Paul says he is an ambassador in chains (πρεσβεύω ἐν ἁλύσει). It is easy to see how this found its way into Philemon 1:1 and finally back into Ephesians 3:1. The myth was explicitly extended in the Latin prologues, especially Philippians which read Philippians 1:23-24 as an indication that epistle was written in prison in Rome. The myth found its way into Acts of the Apostles, but certainly its roots must be earlier from some lost apocryphal acts.

Clabeaux and Ephesians 5:28:

One of the more surprising discoveries was that John Clabeaux had a beautifully developed theory for verse 5:28 in Marcionite form, but he was looking at the wrong part of the verse. He thought Tertullian was looking ὡς τὰ ἑαυτῶν σώματα ὁ ἀγαπῶν τὴν ἑαυτοῦ γυναῖκα and so the variant in question was
ἑαυτοῦ σάρκα for ὡς τὰ ἑαυτῶν σώματα
But in actuality the part of the verse quoted by Tertullian was ὁ ἀγαπῶν τὴν ἑαυτοῦ γυναῖκα ἑαυτὸν ἀγαπᾷ, so the actual variant in view should have been
~ ἑαυτοῦ σάρκα ἀγαπᾷ  ὁ ἀγαπῶν τὴν ἑαυτοῦ γυναῖκα 
ἑαυτοῦ σάρκα ἀγαπᾷ for ἑαυτὸν ἀγαπᾷ
In this case Tertullian merely added Carnem (flesh) to lead into his argument, which required he invert the clauses, so that it concludes in the lines that followed about about Marcion alone hating his own flesh (nisi plane Marcion solus). Clabeaux is correct of course on the micros scale, σάρκα was an incorrect reading. He was thrown off by support of D* Armenian OL:ID for the reading of ⌐ ἑαυτοῦ σάρκα for ὡς τὰ ἑαυτῶν σώματα

The other problem Clabeaux faced was his adherence to a traditionalist viewpoint that assumed Marcion's text different little from the received text  (contrast my minimalist view below). The result was he never considered that verses 5:26 and 5:27 were post Marcionist and so the Catholic editor created a doublet in verses 5:25 and 5:28, which with a single verse starting with οἱ ἄνδρες ἀγαπᾷν τὰς γυναῖκας, and  finished with καθὼς καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν from 5:25.

Conservative is Eclectic:

I have always recognized that my reproductions are to a certain extent eclectic. When I started my efforts at reconstructing the Marcionite Apostolikon, with Romans, there were no rules for me to follow, no baseline. Without going into to much detail, you could say I was tentative in deleting material, which I could not be certain was either Marcionite or later. Work by Herman Detering, John Clabeaux, and especially Winsome Munro have helped guide me. 

My first reconstructions of Romans and 1 Corinthians were definitely too timid. Both Interlinear works are littered with pastoral and Catholic layer words, indicating that I left too much material in. Even so they were useful exercises in beginning to flesh out Marcionite theology and vocabulary, and also the parallel Catholic layer(s). Each iteration, or rather each new letter I reconstruct, I am finding more and more of the material not attested by Tertullian or other Anti-Marcionite works  is actually part of the Catholic layers.

I now have rules to follow:
  1) attested material was part of Marcion
         a) Tertullian and Dialogue Adamantius require careful parsing
           they alternate Catholic and Marcionite text readings (rules are too involved for this post)
         b) variants are generally assumed to be incorrect (per John Clabeaux)
              - if it can be demonstrated that the Marcionite text was more likely original then OK
              - Marcionite text is just as uncontrolled as any other manuscript; we have only "local" readings
   2) material not attested must be examined and only allowed into the reconstruction if
         a) the vocabulary is not part of the pastoral and catholic layers (per Winsome Munro, others)
         b) does not promote a theme or theology contrary to Marcion
              - e.g., themes of Christ subordinate to God (includes resurrection)
         c) does not discuss a heresy
         d) does not include travelogue or other material from lost apocryphal acts
         e) does not change the voice or source of Paul's revelation
         f) material cannot be better explained as part of later era
             - e.g., hierarchy references which indicate an older more mature church
             - dealing with initiates, outsiders, and behaviors of 2nd and 3rd generation members
             - referencing events that better fit the era after Antoninus (e.g., suffering = the plague)
         g) is required to make sense of the passage, or otherwise lacks digression, or form change

When following these rules to arrive at a minimalist text, without any Catholic pollution, even if it  means we lose some phrases, we are able to clearly see what exactly the Marcionite positions were. And that is what my reconstructions are about. I want to give people a critical version of Paul, and eventually the Gospel and even the Antitheses, so that more intelligent discussion of the development of Christianity in the 2nd century can happen. It flabbergasts me to see that nobody has even attempted more than Galatians. I have learned so much by pushing a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and now 6th epistle, that I have the insight to go back and correct Romans and 1 Corinthians, which I could never have done had a I stopped at one or two epistles. 

Final Thoughts:

In my continuing effort to create a complete reproduction of the Marcionite Bible, I have now complete six of the ten epistles. Every one of the epistles held surprises for me, Laodiceans was no exception.

The picture which is emerging seems to tell me the full separation of Marcionites from the proto-Orthodox very likely developed over decades and there was not any single moment where a new church split apart, heresiarch claims aside. Rather the two sides vied for control of various bishops and only as more formal organization took root did they actually split. Celsus is aware of different factions, but not of different ecclesiastical organizations. Irenaeus seems unaware of a different church, but Tertullian and Dialogue Adamantius are aware. This is still a preliminary view for me, I've yet to flesh it out.

The next up are the Thessalonian Epistles. I'd like to do both in my next post. May aim is to wrap up the Apostolikon this year, redoing Romans and 1 Corinthians, and after peer review publish them in book form with commentary (at which time I'll remove the those draft documents in this blog).

I am of a split mind as whether to tackle the Gospel first after that, as I am not satisfied with the reproductions of Harnack and others (we need a modern critical version), or the Antithesis which really nobody has attempted to reproduce in a critical form. Having a "complete" critical text of the Marcionite bible should greatly help scholars and others understand better the theological development of Christianity. This may prove to be a far busier year than I expected.

Finally my apologies to Peter Kirby, as I wrote what looking back are rather rude replies. Not sure what was in my mind at that moment. I sort of went off on a single critical remark that was probably not meant to be as condescending as I read it. But that is no excuse for me go off. I should have made a single quip, laughed, and let it go. Peter is one of the best traditionalist critics out there and his work is both outstanding and well thought out. Sure I disagree with some of the premises he works with, but there is none better than him today.

[1] Unfortunately there still persists an attitude of exclusivity in some Biblical Studies circles such that manuscripts such as 1739 are not available to the public to view even an electronic image. While in Islam the fear that textual differences in the great ancient manuscripts would undermine the image of absolute unity and infallibility of the Quran, such an excuse has been so long shattered in Christianity that it is hard to fathom what it is the curators think they are protecting.
[2] Quite independently, Winsome Munro came to a similar conclusion about the relationship of Ephesians and Colossians.

No comments:

Post a Comment