Giuseppe wrote: ↑
Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:28 pm
3:1/4:31 In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar,
Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea,
Jesus descended [out of heaven] into Capernaum, a city in Galilee,
and was teaching [in the synagogue] on the Sabbath days;
And they were astonished at his doctrine,
Perhaps as outlined in Adv Marc. IV, 7
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius (for such is Marcion's proposition) he came down to the Galilean city of Capernaum, of course meaning from the heaven of the Creator, to which he had previously descended from his own. What then had been his course, for him to be described as first descending from his own heaven to the Creator's? For why should I abstain from censuring those parts of the statement which do not satisfy the requirement of an ordinary narrative, but always end in a falsehood? To be sure, our censure has been once for all expressed in the question, which we have already suggested: Whether, when descending through the Creator's domain, and indeed in hostility to him, he could possibly have been admitted by him, and by him been transmitted to the earth, which was equally his territory?
Now, however, I want also to know the remainder of his course down, assuming that he came down. For we must not be too nice in inquiring whether it is supposed that he was seen in any place. To come into view indicates a sudden unexpected glance, which, for a moment, fixed the eye upon the object that passed before the view, without staying. But when it happens that a descent has been effected, it is apparent, and comes under the notice of the eyes. Moreover, it takes account of fact, and thus obliges one to examine in what condition with what preparation, with how much violence or moderation, and further, at what time of the day or night, the descent was made; who, again, saw the descent, who reported it, who seriously avouched the fact, which certainly was not easy to be believed, even after the asseveration.
It is, in short, too bad that Romulus should have had in Proculus an avoucher of his ascent to heaven, when the Christ of (this) god could not find any one to announce his descent from heaven; just as if the ascent of the one and the descent of the other were not effected on one and the same ladder of falsehood!
Then, what had he to do with Galilee, if he did not belong to the Creator by whom that region was destined (for His Christ) when about to enter on His ministry? As Isaiah says: Drink in this first, and be prompt, O region of Zabulon and land of Nephthalim, and you others who (inhabit) the sea-coast, and that of Jordan, Galilee of the nations, you people who sit in darkness, behold a great light; upon you, who inhabit (that) land, sitting in the shadow of death, the light has arisen.
It is, however, well that Marcion's god does claim to be the enlightener of the nations, that so he might have the better reason for coming down from heaven; only, if it must needs be, he should rather have made Pontus his place of descent than Galilee.
But since both the place and the work of illumination according to the prophecy are compatible with Christ, we begin to discern that He is the subject of the prophecy, which shows that at the very outset of His ministry, He came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but rather to fulfil them [Matthew 5:17]; for Marcion has erased the passage as an interpolation. It will, however, be vain for him to deny that Christ uttered in word what He immediately did partially indeed. For the prophecy about place He at once fulfilled. From heaven straight to the synagogue. As the adage runs: The business on which we have come, do at once. Marcion must even expunge from the Gospel, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel [Matthew 15:24]; and, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs [Matthew 15:26], — in order, forsooth, that Christ may not appear to be an Israelite. But facts will satisfy me instead of words. Withdraw all the sayings of my Christ, His acts shall speak. Lo, He enters the synagogue; surely (this is going) to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Behold, it is to Israelites first that He offers the bread of His doctrine; surely it is because they are children that He shows them this priority ...
My present discussion is, how the evil spirit could have known that He was called by such a name, when there had never at any time been uttered about Him a single prophecy by a god who was unknown, and up to that time silent, of whom it was not possible for Him to be attested as the Holy One, as (of a god) unknown even to his own Creator. What similar event could he then have published of a new deity, whereby he might betoken for the holy one of the rival god? Simply that he went into the synagogue, and did nothing even in word against the Creator?
As therefore he could not by any means acknowledge him, whom he was ignorant of, to be Jesus and the Holy One of God; so did he acknowledge Him whom he knew (to be both). For he remembered how that the prophet had prophesied of the Holy One of God, and how that God's name of Jesus was in the son of Nun. These facts he had also received from the angel, according to our Gospel: Wherefore that which shall be born of you shall be called the Holy One, the Son of God; and, You shall call his name Jesus [Matthew 1:21].
Thus he actually had (although only an evil spirit) some idea of the Lord's dispensation, rather than of any strange and heretofore imperfectly understood one. Because he also premised this question: What have we to do with You?— not as if referring to a strange Jesus, to whom pertain the evil spirits of the Creator. Nor did he say, What have You to do with us? But, What have we to do with You? as if deploring himself, and deprecating his own calamity; at the prospect of which he adds: Have You come to destroy us? So completely did he acknowledge in Jesus the Son of that God who was judicial and avenging, and (so to speak) severe, and not of him who was simply good, and knew not how to destroy or how to punish! ... Jesus was neither acknowledged by the evil spirit, nor affirmed by Himself, to be any other than the Creator's.
Well, but Jesus rebuked him, you say. To be sure he did, as being an envious (spirit), and in his very confession only petulant, and evil in adulation— just as if it had been Christ's highest glory to have come for the destruction of demons, and not for the salvation of mankind ...