Linquistic/Tonal similarities between Luke 1:1-4 and the Preface of Irenaeus's Against Heresies

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Joseph D. L.
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Linquistic/Tonal similarities between Luke 1:1-4 and the Preface of Irenaeus's Against Heresies

Post by Joseph D. L. » Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:42 am

I am not at all knowledgeable on ancient Greek language, or it's many nuances and subtleties. I am also not knowledgeable about the typical speech/writing techniques or patterns writers would use in composing their works. For example, I'm incapable of detecting the rhetorical patterns that experts are able to in order to verify whether a certain work was written by that ancient author by comparing it to another one of his works. I'm just a passing observer who is only capable of noting general, if mistaken, similarities between two things. This isn't so much as to prove one way or another that the author of Against Heresies also authored Luke-Acts. Just to ignite some, if any, discussion on this or comparable topics.

Anyway, I note the similarities between the opening of both works, Luke and Against Heresies:

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

Ἐπειδήπερ πολλοὶ ἐπεχείρησαν ἀνατάξασθαι διήγησιν περὶ τῶν πεπληροφορημένων ἐν ἡμῖν πραγμάτων, καθὼς παρέδοσαν ἡμῖν οἱ ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς αὐτόπται καὶ ὑπηρέται γενόμενοι τοῦ λόγου, ἔδοξε κἀμοὶ παρηκολουθηκότι ἄνωθεν πᾶσιν ἀκριβῶς καθεξῆς σοι γράψαι, κράτιστε Θεόφιλε, ἵνα ἐπιγνῷς περὶ ὧν κατηχήθης λόγων τὴν ἀσφάλειαν.

We see here the following layout of the passage: 1) a general acknowledgement of past teachings/writings, 2) the reasoning behind the current work, 3) a greeting to the intended reader.

Now here is the preface to Against Heresies:

Inasmuch as certain men have set the truth aside, and bring in lying words and vain genealogies, which, as the apostle says, minister questions rather than godly edifying which is in faith, and by means of their craftily-constructed plausibilities draw away the minds of the inexperienced and take them captive, [I have felt constrained, my dear friend, to compose the following treatise in order to expose and counteract their machinations.]

The structure of the passage is almost the same in regards to the three points elucidated in the former passage of Luke. The passage opens with an acknowledgement of past heresies (even beginning with the same word), an explanation as to the current work, as well as the greeting to those who read it. (And while I cannot verify this for myself, "Theophilus" and "my dear friend", may be relatable).

What's more, the general tone of both passages, at least to me, is errorly similar. Both are attempting to be objective and clinicle in their approach; both come across as authorities on the subject they write upon; both flatter the intended reader.

Again, I could be miles off on this, and if anyone has any comments, or corrections, then feel free to let me know.

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Re: Linquistic/Tonal similarities between Luke 1:1-4 and the Preface of Irenaeus's Against Heresies

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:17 am

It may help to consult a different translation, as I think some words and clauses have been added in the one you are using. Here is a different one, also available online: http://people.bu.edu/dklepper/RN212/irenaeus.html.

Harvey's Greek and Latin version of this passage may be consulted at my old website: http://textexcavation.com/documents/images/ah1p002.jpg and http://textexcavation.com/documents/images/ah1p003.jpg.
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Re: Linquistic/Tonal similarities between Luke 1:1-4 and the Preface of Irenaeus's Against Heresies

Post by DCHindley » Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:04 am

Joseph,

This is how the Preface to Irenaeus' Against Heresies ran in Greek original (well, as it is quoted verbatim in Epiphanius' Panarion), the ancient Latin translation, and in English translation:

ANF Irenaeus Against Heresies Book 1. 1:1 (ANF vol. 1)
Greek text of Irenaeus' Ελεγχου και Ανατροπης της Ψευδωνυμου Γνωσεως, book 1.ch 1, from Epiphanius' Panarion
Text in W Wigan Harvey's edition of Irenaeus' Against Heresies, bk 1, preface (expect numerous scanning errors)
PREFACE: Inasmuch as certain men have set the truth aside, and bring in lying words and vain genealogies, Ἐπί l. Ἐπεὶ τὴν ἀλήθειαν παραπεμπόμενοί τινες, ἐπεισάγουσι λόγους ψευδεῖς καὶ γενεαλογίας ματαίας, Quatenus veritatem refutantes quidam inducunt verba falsa, et genealogias infinitas, quae qucestiones magis proestant,
which, as the apostle says, "minister questions rather than godly edifying which is in faith," αἵτινες ζητήσεις μᾶλλον παρέχουσι, καθὼς ὁ Ἀπόστολός φησιν, ἢ οἰκοδομὴν Θεοῦ τὴν ἐν πίστει· [2] quemadmodum Apostolus ait, quam oedificationem Dei, quae est in fide;
and by means of their craftily-constructed plausibilities draw away the minds of the inexperienced and take them captive, καὶ διὰ τῆς πανούργως συγκεκροτημένης πιθανότητος παράγουσι τὸν νοῦν τῶν ἀπειροτέρων, καὶ αἰχμαλωτίζουσιν αὐτοὺς, et per eam, quae est subdole exercitata verisimilitudo, transducunt sensum eorum, qui sunt inexpertiores, et in captivitatem ducunt eos,
[I have felt constrained, my dear friend, to compose the following treatise in order to expose and counteract their machinations.] Footnote to ANF "We have also supplied a clause, in order to avoid the extreme length of the sentence in the original, which runs on without any apodosis to the words ἀναγκαῖον ἡγησάμην, “I have judged it necessary.” Not in the Greek or Latin. Not in the Greek or Latin.
These men falsify the oracles of God, ῥᾳδιουργοῦντες τὰ λόγια Κυρίου, falsantes verba Domini,
and prove themselves evil interpreters of the good word of revelation. ἐξηγηταὶ κακοὶ τῶν καλῶς εἰρημένων γινόμενοι· interpretatores mali eorum, quae bene dicta sunt, effecti:
They also overthrow the faith of many, καὶ πολλοὺς ἀνατρέπουσιν, et multos evertunt, attrahentes eos sub occasione agnitionis ab eo,
by drawing them away, under a pretence of [superior] knowledge, from Him who rounded and adorned the universe; ἀπάγοντες αὐτοὺς προφάσει γνώσεως ἀπὸ τοῦ τόδε τὸ πᾶν συστησαμένου καὶ κεκοσμηκότος, qui hanc universitatem constituit et ordinavit [l. ornavit];
as if, forsooth, they had something more excellent and sublime to reveal, than that God who created the heaven and the earth, and all things that are therein. ὡς ὑψηλότερόν τι καὶ μεῖζον ἔχοντες ἐπιδεῖξαι τοῦ τὸν οὐρανὸν, καὶ τὴν γῆν, καὶ πάντα τὰ ἐν αὐτοῖς πεποιηκότος Θεοῦ· quasi altius aliquid et majus habentes ostendere, quam eum, qui coelum et terram, et omnia quae in eis sunt, fecit;
By means of specious and plausible words, they cunningly allure the simple-minded to inquire into their system; πιθανῶς μὲν ἐπαγόμενοι διὰ λόγων τέχνης τοὺς ἀκεραίους εἰς τὸν τοῦ ζητεῖν τρόπον, suadenter quidem illi illiciunt per verborum artem simpliciores ad requirendi modum, male autem perdunt eos,
but they nevertheless clumsily destroy them, while they initiate them into their blasphemous and impious opinions respecting the Demiurge; ἀπιθάνως δὲ ἀπολλύντες αὐτοὺς ἐν τῷ βλάσφημον καὶ ἀσεβῆ τὴν γνώμην αὐτῶν κατασκευάζειν εἰς τὸν Δημιουργὸν, in eo quod blasphemam et impiam ipeorum sententiam faciant in Fabricatorem,
and these simple ones are unable, even in such a matter, to distinguish falsehood from truth. μηδὲ ἐν τῷ διακρίνειν δυναμένων τὸ ψεῦδος ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀληθοῦς· non diecernere valentium faleum a vero.
Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. ἡ γὰρ πλάνη καθ' αὑτὴν μὲν οὐκ ἐπιδείκνυται, ἵνα μὴ γυμνωθεῖσα γένηται κατάφωρος· [3] 2. Error enim secundum semetipeum non ostenditur, ne denudatus fiat comprehensibilis,
But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than the truth itself. πιθανῷ δὲ περιβλήματι πανούργως κοσμουμένη, καὶ αὐτῆς τῆς ἀληθείας ἀληθεστέραν ἑαυτὴν παρέχειν l. παρέχει φαίνεσθαι διὰ τῆς ἔξωθεν φαντασίας τοῖς ἀπειροτέροις· suasorio autem cooperimento subdole adornatus, et ipsa veritate (4 ridiculum est et dicere) veriorem semetipsum praestat, ut decipiat exteriori phantasmate rudiores:
One far superior to me has well said, in reference to this point, καθὼς ὑπὸ τοῦ κρείττονος ἡμῶν εἴρηται ἐπὶ τῶν τοιούτων, quemadmodum a meliore nobis dictum est de hujusmodi:
"A clever imitation in glass casts contempt, as it were, on that precious jewel the emerald (which is most highly esteemed by some), unless it come under the eye of one able to test and expose the counterfeit. ὅτι λίθον τὸν τίμιον σμάραγδον ὄντα, καὶ πολυτίμητόν τισιν, ὕαλος ἐνυβρίζει διὰ τέχνης παρομοιουμένη, ὁπόταν μὴ παρῇ ὁ σθένων δοκιμάσαι, καὶ τέχνῃ Int. τέχνην διελέγξαι τὴν πανούργως γενομένην· Quoniam lapidem pretiosum smaragdum magni pretii apud quosdam, vitreum in ejus contumeliam per artem assimilatum, quoadusque non adest, qui potest probare, et artificium arguere, quod subdole sit factum.
Or, again, what inexperienced person can with ease detect the presence of brass when it has been mixed up with silver?" ὅταν δὲ ἐπιμιγῇ ὁ χαλκὸς εἰς τὸν ἄργυρον, τίς εὐκόλως δυνήσεται τοῦτον ἀκεραίως Int. ἀκέραιος ὤν δοκιμάσαι; Quum enim commixtum fuerit [4] aeramentum argento, quis facile poterit, rudis cum sit, hoc probare?
Lest, therefore, through my neglect, some should be carried off, even as sheep are by wolves, while they perceive not the true character of these men,- ἵνα οὖν μὴ παρὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν αἰτίαν συναρπάζωνταί τινες, ὡς πρόβατα ὑπὸ λύκων, ἀγνοοῦντες αὐτοὺς Igitur ne forte et cum nostro delicto abripiantur quidam quasi oves a lupis, ignorantes eos propter exterius ovilis pellis superindumentum,
because they outwardly are covered with sheep's clothing (against whom the Lord has enjoined us to be on our guard), and because their language resembles ours, while their sentiments are very different,-- διὰ τὴν ἔξωθεν τῆς προβατείου δορᾶς ἐπιβουλὴν, οὓς φυλάσσειν παρήγγελκεν ἡμῖν Κύριος, ὅμοια μὲν λαλοῦντας, ἀνόμοια δὲ φρονοῦντας, a quibus cavere denunciavit nobis Dominus, similia quidem nobis loquentes, dissimilia vero sentientes:
I have deemed it my duty ἀναγκαῖον ἡγησάμην, necessarium duxi,
(after reading some of the Commentaries, as they call them, of the disciples of Valentinus, and after making myself acquainted with their tenets through personal intercourse with some of them) ἐντυχὼν τοῖς ὑπομνήμασι τῶν, ὡς αὐτοὶ λέγουσιν, Οὐαλεντίνου μαθητῶν, ἐνίοις δ' αὐτῶν καὶ συμβαλὼν, καὶ καταλαβόμενος τὴν γνώμην αὐτῶν, cum legerim Commentarios ipeorum, quemadmodum ipsi dicunt, Valentini discipulorum, quibusdam autem ipeorum et congressus, et apprehendens sententiam ipsorum,
to unfold to thee, my friend, these portentous and profound mysteries, which do not fall within the range of every intellect, because all have not sufficiently purged their brains. μηνύσαι σοι, ἀγαπητὲ, τὰ τερατώδη καὶ βαθέα μυστήρια, ἃ οὐ πάντες χωροῦσιν, ἐπεὶ μὴ πάντες τὸν ἐγκέφαλον ἐξεπτύκασιν, ὅπως καὶ σὺ μαθὼν αὐτὰ, manifestare tibi, Dilectissime, portentuosissima et altiseima mysteria, quae non omnes capiunt, quia non omnes cerebrum habent,
I do this, in order that thou, obtaining an acquaintance with these things, mayest in turn explain them to all those with whom thou art connected, and exhort them to avoid such an abyss of madness and of blasphemy against Christ. πᾶσι τοῖς μετά σου φανερὰ ποιήσῃς, καὶ παραινέσῃς αὐτοῖς φυλάξασθαι τὸν βυθὸν τῆς ἀνοίας, καὶ τῆς εἰς Χριστὸν Int. Θεὸν βλασφημίας. ut et tu [5] cognoscens ea, omnibus his, qui sunt tecum, manifesta facias, et praecipias eis observare se a profundo insensationis, et ejus, quae est in Deum, blasphemationis.

Excuse me if I some of the source text is out of order when compared against each other. I is igorrant.

DCH

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Re: Linquistic/Tonal similarities between Luke 1:1-4 and the Preface of Irenaeus's Against Heresies

Post by DCHindley » Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:21 am

For comparison, here is Luke 1:1-4 in Greek, Latin (Vulgate) and English translation:

RSV Luke 1:
BGT Luke 1:
VUL Luke 1:
1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, 1 ἐπειδήπερ πολλοὶ ἐπεχείρησαν ἀνατάξασθαι διήγησιν περὶ τῶν πεπληροφορημένων ἐν ἡμῖν πραγμάτων, 1 quoniam quidem multi conati sunt ordinare narrationem quae in nobis conpletae sunt rerum
2 just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, 2 καθὼς παρέδοσαν ἡμῖν οἱ ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς αὐτόπται καὶ ὑπηρέται γενόμενοι τοῦ λόγου, 2 sicut tradiderunt nobis qui ab initio ipsi viderunt et ministri fuerunt sermonis
3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 3 ἔδοξε κἀμοὶ παρηκολουθηκότι ἄνωθεν πᾶσιν ἀκριβῶς καθεξῆς σοι γράψαι, κράτιστε Θεόφιλε, 3 visum est et mihi adsecuto a principio omnibus diligenter ex ordine tibi scribere optime Theophile
4 that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed. 4 ἵνα ἐπιγνῷς περὶ ὧν κατηχήθης λόγων τὴν ἀσφάλειαν. 4 ut cognoscas eorum verborum de quibus eruditus es veritatem

The introductory words are different. The Greek NT uses ἐπειδήπερ versus Irenaeus' Ἐπί (corrected to Ἐπεὶ on basis of the Latin version's Quatenus). The bracketed words supply information that must be assumed due to a lack of grammatical structure in the Greek text in Epiphanius. Look at all that confusion over whether Irenaeus said Lord or God. The Latin may have one and the Greek another, almost random.

The author of Luke wanted to tie up the pieces of info he was aware that Theophilus, whoever he was, had compiled about Christian origins. Irenaeus is going the other way, deconstructing Valentinian and Gnostic myths and writings to show that they are full of "errors."

I don't know if the intros can be compared one to one, as they are trying to do different things.

DCH

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Re: Linquistic/Tonal similarities between Luke 1:1-4 and the Preface of Irenaeus's Against Heresies

Post by Joseph D. L. » Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:37 pm

DCHindley wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 9:21 am
The introductory words are different. The Greek NT uses ἐπειδήπερ versus Irenaeus' Ἐπί (corrected to Ἐπεὶ on basis of the Latin version's Quatenus). The bracketed words supply information that must be assumed due to a lack of grammatical structure in the Greek text in Epiphanius. Look at all that confusion over whether Irenaeus said Lord or God. The Latin may have one and the Greek another, almost random.
I think you for your input. As I said, I am in no way knowledgeable in the subject of linguistic relations. (I couldn't even find an online Greek version of Against Heresies to compare to, much to my discredit I suppose.)
The author of Luke wanted to tie up the pieces of info he was aware that Theophilus, whoever he was, had compiled about Christian origins. Irenaeus is going the other way, deconstructing Valentinian and Gnostic myths and writings to show that they are full of "errors."
If I just add here, I do not think that who ever penned verses 1-4 wrote Luke. This is deducible in large part with it's relation to Mark, Matthew, and pseudo-Marcion. If anything, and that he admits that there are other accounts floating around of whatever worth, indicates to me that Luke is merely a compilation--a "Diatessaronic" text.

The same may hold true for Acts of the Apostles, which has been hypothesized but not a few people to contain the work of at leats two different authors.

When taken together, Luke, Acts of the Apostles, as well as Against Heresies, all serve the same function: in establishing the "true" history of the church, it's founder and it's false teachers. Thus a compandium listing the various heretics is almost a necessity to procuring that their agenda is secure.

What's more, all of these works came into being at roughly the same time. I think it's pretty obvious that Theophilus is the Bishop of Antioch, ca. 170 ad.

I should add that I am of the persuation of several others on this forum, in that Against Heresies is made up of several such works, and that the opening preface is either the final editorial saftey pin or belonging to one of the works that went into it. (Valentinus, Marcion, and Marcus, are probably the same people, called as such at different times or places in the second century.)
I don't know if the intros can be compared one to one, as they are trying to do different things.
Not quite. All three works are attempting the same aims: the true teachings and history of the church as opposed to those who deviate from it. Maybe that's too broad a generalization, but that is how I see it at the moment.

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