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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



10636
Tertullian, Against Marcion, 1.1


nanWhatever in times past we have wrought in opposition to Marcion, is from the present moment no longer to be accounted of. It is a new work which we are undertaking in lieu of the old one. My original tract, as too hurriedly composed, I had subsequently superseded by a fuller treatise. This latter I lost, before it was completely published, by the fraud of a person who was then a brother, but became afterwards an apostate. He, as it happened, had transcribed a portion of it, full of mistakes, and then published it. The necessity thus arose for an amended work; and the occasion of the new edition induced me to make a considerable addition to the treatise. This present text, therefore, of my work - which is the third as superseding the second, but henceforward to be considered the first instead of the third - renders a preface necessary to this issue of the tract itself that no reader may be perplexed, if he should by chance fall in with the various forms of it which are scattered about. The Euxine Sea, as it is called, is self-contradictory in its nature, and deceptive in its name. As you would not account it hospitable from its situation, so is it severed from our more civilised waters by a certain stigma which attaches to its barbarous character. The fiercest nations inhabit it, if indeed it can be called habitation, when life is passed in waggons. They have no fixed abode; their life has no germ of civilization; they indulge their libidinous desires without restraint, and for the most part naked. Moreover, when they gratify secret lust, they hang up their quivers on their car-yokes, to warn off the curious and rash observer. Thus without a blush do they prostitute their weapons of war. The dead bodies of their parents they cut up with their sheep, and devour at their feasts. They who have not died so as to become food for others, are thought to have died an accursed death. Their women are not by their sex softened to modesty. They uncover the breast, from which they suspend their battle-axes, and prefer warfare to marriage. In their climate, too, there is the same rude nature. The day-time is never clear, the sun never cheerful; the sky is uniformly cloudy; the whole year is wintry; the only wind that blows is the angry North. Waters melt only by fires; their rivers flow not by reason of the ice; their mountains are covered with heaps of snow. All things are torpid, all stiff with cold. Nothing there has the glow of life, but that ferocity which has given to scenic plays their stories of the sacrifices of the Taurians, and the loves of the Colchians, and the torments of the Caucasus. Nothing, however, in Pontus is so barbarous and sad as the fact that Marcion was born there, fouler than any Scythian, more roving than the waggon-life of the Sarmatian, more inhuman than the Massagete, more audacious than an Amazon, darker than the cloud, (of Pontus) colder than its winter, more brittle than its ice, more deceitful than the Ister, more craggy than Caucasus. Nay more, the true Prometheus, Almighty God, is mangled by Marcion's blasphemies. Marcion is more savage than even the beasts of that barbarous region. For what beaver was ever a greater emasculator than he who has abolished the nuptial bond? What Pontic mouse ever had such gnawing powers as he who has gnawed the Gospels to pieces? Verily, O Euxine, you have produced a monster more credible to philosophers than to Christians. For the cynic Diogenes used to go about, lantern in hand, at mid-day to find a man; whereas Marcion has quenched the light of his faith, and so lost the God whom he had found. His disciples will not deny that his first faith he held along with ourselves; a letter of his own proves this; so that for the future a heretic may from his case be designated as one who, forsaking that which was prior, afterwards chose out for himself that which was not in times past. For in as far as what was delivered in times past and from the beginning will be held as truth, in so far will that be accounted heresy which is brought in later. But another brief treatise will maintain this position against heretics, who ought to be refuted even without a consideration of their doctrines, on the ground that they are heretical by reason of the novelty of their opinions. Now, so far as any controversy is to be admitted, I will for the time (lest our compendious principle of novelty, being called in on all occasions to our aid, should be imputed to want of confidence) begin with setting forth our adversary's rule of belief, that it may escape no one what our main contention is to be.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

6 results
1. New Testament, Hebrews, 1.3 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

1.3. His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself made purification for our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
2. New Testament, John, 20.30 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

20.30. Therefore Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book;
3. Irenaeus, Refutation of All Heresies, 1.22.1 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

4. Justin, Dialogue With Trypho, 73, 72 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

72. Passages have been removed by the Jews from Esdras and Jeremiah Justin: I shall do as you please. From the statements, then, which Esdras made in reference to the law of the passover, they have taken away the following: 'And Esdras said to the people, This passover is our Saviour and our refuge. And if you have understood, and your heart has taken it in, that we shall humble Him on a standard, and thereafter hope in Him, then this place shall not be forsaken for ever, says the God of hosts. But if you will not believe Him, and will not listen to His declaration, you shall be a laughing-stock to the nations.' And from the sayings of Jeremiah they have cut out the following: 'I [was] like a lamb that is brought to the slaughter: they devised a device against me, saying, Come, let us lay on wood on His bread, and let us blot Him out from the land of the living; and His name shall no more be remembered.' Jeremiah 11:19 And since this passage from the sayings of Jeremiah is still written in some copies [of the Scriptures] in the synagogues of the Jews (for it is only a short time since they were cut out), and since from these words it is demonstrated that the Jews deliberated about the Christ Himself, to crucify and put Him to death, He Himself is both declared to be led as a sheep to the slaughter, as was predicted by Isaiah, and is here represented as a harmless lamb; but being in a difficulty about them, they give themselves over to blasphemy. And again, from the sayings of the same Jeremiah these have been cut out: 'The Lord God remembered His dead people of Israel who lay in the graves; and He descended to preach to them His own salvation.'
5. Tertullian, Against Marcion, 1.2, 1.5, 1.16 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

1.2. The heretic of Pontus introduces two Gods, like the twin Symplegades of his own shipwreck: One whom it was impossible to deny, i.e. our Creator; and one whom he will never be able to prove, i.e. his own god. The unhappy man gained the first idea of his conceit from the simple passage of our Lord's saying, which has reference to human beings and not divine ones, wherein He disposes of those examples of a good tree and a corrupt one; how that the good tree brings not forth corrupt fruit, neither the corrupt tree good fruit. Which means, that an honest mind and good faith cannot produce evil deeds, any more than an evil disposition can produce good deeds. Now (like many other persons now-a-days, especially those who have an heretical proclivity), while morbidly brooding over the question of the origin of evil, his perception became blunted by the very irregularity of his researches; and when he found the Creator declaring, I am He that creates evil, Isaiah 45:7 inasmuch as he had already concluded from other arguments, which are satisfactory to every perverted mind, that God is the author of evil, so he now applied to the Creator the figure of the corrupt tree bringing forth evil fruit, that is, moral evil, and then presumed that there ought to be another god, after the analogy of the good tree producing its good fruit. Accordingly, finding in Christ a different disposition, as it were - one of a simple and pure benevolence - differing from the Creator, he readily argued that in his Christ had been revealed a new and strange divinity; and then with a little leaven he leavened the whole lump of the faith, flavouring it with the acidity of his own heresy. He had, moreover, in one Cerdon an abettor of this blasphemy - a circumstance which made them the more readily think that they saw most clearly their two gods, blind though they were; for, in truth, they had not seen the one God with soundness of faith. To men of diseased vision even one lamp looks like many. One of his gods, therefore, whom he was obliged to acknowledge, he destroyed by defaming his attributes in the matter of evil; the other, whom he laboured so hard to devise, he constructed, laying his foundation in the principle of good. In what articles he arranged these natures, we show by our own refutations of them. 1.5. But on what principle did Marcion confine his supreme powers to two? I would first ask, If there be two, why not more? Because if number be compatible with the substance of Deity, the richer you make it in number the better. Valentinus was more consistent and more liberal; for he, having once imagined two deities, Bythos and Sige, poured forth a swarm of divine essences, a brood of no less than thirty Æons, like the sow of Æneas. Now, whatever principle refuses to admit several supreme beings, the same must reject even two, for there is plurality in the very lowest number after one. After unity, number commences. So, again, the same principle which could admit two could admit more. After two, multitude begins, now that one is exceeded. In short, we feel that reason herself expressly forbids the belief in more gods than one, because the self-same rule lays down one God and not two, which declares that God must be a Being to which, as the great Supreme, nothing is equal; and that Being to which nothing is equal must, moreover, be unique. But further, what can be the use or advantage in supposing two supreme beings, two co-ordinate powers? What numerical difference could there be when two equals differ not from one? For that thing which is the same in two is one. Even if there were several equals, all would be just as much one, because, as equals, they would not differ one from another. So, if of two beings neither differs from the other, since both of them are on the supposition supreme, both being gods, neither of them is more excellent than the other; and so, having no pre-eminence, their numerical distinction has no reason in it. Number, moreover, in the Deity ought to be consistent with the highest reason, or else His worship would be brought into doubt. For consider now, if, when I saw two Gods before me (who, being both Supreme Beings, were equal to each other), I were to worship them both, what should I be doing? I should be much afraid that the abundance of my homage would be deemed superstition rather than piety. Because, as both of them are so equal and are both included in either of the two, I might serve them both acceptably in only one; and by this very means I should attest their equality and unity, provided that I worshipped them mutually the one in the other, because in the one both are present to me. If I were to worship one of the two, I should be equally conscious of seeming to pour contempt on the uselessness of a numerical distinction, which was superfluous, because it indicated no difference; in other words, I should think it the safer course to worship neither of these two Gods than one of them with some scruple of conscience, or both of them to none effect. 1.16. Since, then, that other world does not appear, nor its god either, the only resource left to them is to divide things into the two classes of visible and invisible, with two gods for their authors, and so to claim the invisible for their own, (the supreme) God. But who, except an heretical spirit, could ever bring his mind to believe that the invisible part of creation belongs to him who had previously displayed no visible thing, rather than to Him who, by His operation on the visible world, produced a belief in the invisible also, since it is far more reasonable to give one's assent after some samples (of a work) than after none? We shall see to what author even (your favourite) apostle attributes Colossians 1:16 the invisible creation, when we come to examine him. At present (we withhold his testimony), for we are for the most part engaged in preparing the way, by means of common sense and fair arguments, for a belief in the future support of the Scriptures also. We affirm, then, that this diversity of things visible and invisible must on this ground be attributed to the Creator, even because the whole of His work consists of diversities - of things corporeal and incorporeal; of animate and iimate; of vocal and mute of moveable and stationary; of productive and sterile; of arid and moist; of hot and cold. Man, too, is himself similarly tempered with diversity, both in his body and in his sensation. Some of his members are strong, others weak; some comely, others uncomely; some twofold, others unique; some like, others unlike. In like manner there is diversity also in his sensation: now joy, then anxiety; now love, then hatred; now anger, then calmness. Since this is the case, inasmuch as the whole of this creation of ours has been fashioned with a reciprocal rivalry among its several parts, the invisible ones are due to the visible, and not to be ascribed to any other author than Him to whom their counterparts are imputed, marking as they do diversity in the Creator Himself, who orders what He forbade, and forbids what He ordered; who also strikes and heals. Why do they take Him to be uniform in one class of things alone, as the Creator of visible things, and only them; whereas He ought to be believed to have created both the visible and the invisible, in just the same way as life and death, or as evil things and peace? And verily, if the invisible creatures are greater than the visible, which are in their own sphere great, so also is it fitting that the greater should be His to whom the great belong; because neither the great, nor indeed the greater, can be suitable property for one who seems to possess not even the smallest things.
6. Augustine, Retractiones, 2.15.1 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
augustine of hippo, de trinitate Yates and Dupont, The Bible in Christian North Africa: Part I: Commencement to the Confessiones of Augustine (ca. 180 to 400 CE) (2020) 46
augustine of hippo, manuscripts and transcriptions of Yates and Dupont, The Bible in Christian North Africa: Part I: Commencement to the Confessiones of Augustine (ca. 180 to 400 CE) (2020) 46
book culture Yates and Dupont, The Bible in Christian North Africa: Part I: Commencement to the Confessiones of Augustine (ca. 180 to 400 CE) (2020) 46
book of life Keith, The Gospel as Manuscript: An Early History of the Jesus Tradition as Material Artifact (2020) 64
church, book culture Yates and Dupont, The Bible in Christian North Africa: Part I: Commencement to the Confessiones of Augustine (ca. 180 to 400 CE) (2020) 46
culture, book Yates and Dupont, The Bible in Christian North Africa: Part I: Commencement to the Confessiones of Augustine (ca. 180 to 400 CE) (2020) 46
firmus Yates and Dupont, The Bible in Christian North Africa: Part I: Commencement to the Confessiones of Augustine (ca. 180 to 400 CE) (2020) 46
governors; are bought by bishops Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 138
hippo Yates and Dupont, The Bible in Christian North Africa: Part I: Commencement to the Confessiones of Augustine (ca. 180 to 400 CE) (2020) 46
irenaeus of lyons, on the rule of truth, theology shaped by Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 161
irenaeus of lyons, on the rule of truth Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 161
jerome, biblical translation Yates and Dupont, The Bible in Christian North Africa: Part I: Commencement to the Confessiones of Augustine (ca. 180 to 400 CE) (2020) 46
latin bible manuscript tradition, and book culture in north africa Yates and Dupont, The Bible in Christian North Africa: Part I: Commencement to the Confessiones of Augustine (ca. 180 to 400 CE) (2020) 46
marcion and marcionites Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 161
possidius Yates and Dupont, The Bible in Christian North Africa: Part I: Commencement to the Confessiones of Augustine (ca. 180 to 400 CE) (2020) 46
scorn gods, ; blackmail christians' Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 138
secretaries and stenographers Yates and Dupont, The Bible in Christian North Africa: Part I: Commencement to the Confessiones of Augustine (ca. 180 to 400 CE) (2020) 46
stenographers and secretaries Yates and Dupont, The Bible in Christian North Africa: Part I: Commencement to the Confessiones of Augustine (ca. 180 to 400 CE) (2020) 46
tertullian, adversus marcionem Yates and Dupont, The Bible in Christian North Africa: Part I: Commencement to the Confessiones of Augustine (ca. 180 to 400 CE) (2020) 46
tertullian, on rule of truth Ayres and Ward, The Rise of the Early Christian Intellectual (2021) 161
tertullian; as biblical exegete Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 138
tertullian; revises work Sider, Christian and Pagan in the Roman Empire: The Witness of Tertullian (2001) 138