The Pre-Existent Marcionite Interest in Timothy

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The Pre-Existent Marcionite Interest in Timothy

Post by Secret Alias » Mon May 11, 2020 11:58 am

In other thread I've argued that there is a strong parallel between (a) what the Marcionite says in De Recta in Deum Fide regarding Matthew, Mark and Luke being written by someone claiming to be these people (b) the tradition associated with Timothy that John took a pile of preexistent 'gospel material' and arranged it into texts called 'according to' Matthew, Mark and Luke and (c) Celsus's statement that the gospel developed from one gospel to three and ultimately four to 'answer [pagan] objections.' I see (c) as a preservation on Celsus's part of the Marcionite position on the Catholic gospels - namely that the Marcionites originally believed Paul wrote 'the one gospel' and then it became three and then four because of Catholic interpolation and editorial manipulation. Since (c) is obviously related to (b) it would stand that the Marcionite tradition was anti-Johannine and that (b) - the tradition of Timothy - is also a preservation of a Marcionite understanding.

Of course if this is true one would expect Timothy to be an important figure in the Marcionite tradition. We are a little blinded I think by the reported fact that the Marcionites rejected the canonical Epistle to Timothy. As such, we - or at least me - have always thought that the Marcionites opposed Timothy or denied his existence. But (b) - De Recta in Deum Fide - clearly has the Marcionite state that Timothy and Silvanus were the only companions of Paul named in his writings. No Mark, no Luke etc. As such - and this is critical - the canonical epistle to Timothy was likely constructed with the knowledge that the Marcionites viewed Timothy as Paul's beloved disciple.

This of course has implications for Acts and the Catholic tradition that Luke was the beloved disciple. I haven't gotten into this yet. But there is clearly disagreement between the implicit significance of two epistles to Timothy in the canon and the same canon having two documents associated with Luke. Acts only superficially presents itself as a Lukan document. It likely existed in a previous form with no association to Luke. Similarly the gospel of Luke implicitly presents itself as the gospel of Paul which the Marcionite clearly denied. It would stand to reason then that 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy - indeed the Pastorals - were developed independently of Acts and perhaps with direct knowledge of a Marcionite interest in Timothy. In other words, the Marcionite reverence of Timothy came first and then the falsified epistles in his name.
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Re: The Pre-Existent Marcionite Interest in Timothy

Post by Stuart » Mon May 11, 2020 3:40 pm

Mostly this speaks to the openings in 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, Colossians, 2 Corinthians and Philippians may have already contained Timothy when the collector/editor put together the ten letter collection. Who knows, 1 Corinthians may have also originally had Timothy rather than Sothenes.

Timothy is a contraction of τιμή (to honor, or value or give deference) and θεός (God), which clearly not a birth name, rather a name much like Simon being called Peter (or for a modern American example, wrestler Dwayne Johnson goes by "the Rock").

One can argue easily that the proto-orthodoxy used the names of the saints of rival sects to lend their books credibility with those sects. Paul writing to Timothy is occasioned by his prevalence in the ten letter collection as a companion (disciple?) of Paul. Titus (Latin "nurse" ... is this a wink at Luke the physician?) is drawn from a different tradition. His appearances in Galatians and 2 Corinthians are probably of the Catholic layers, so the origin is more difficult to trace.

The Pastorals are not a unity, although modern scholars often present it as such, forgetting that Scleiermacher demonstraed long ago that they had to be of different authors, and that 1 Timothy was a conflation of 2 Timothy and Titus, and thus inauthentic.
https://depts.drew.edu/jhc/PriceSchleiermacher.pdf

So to your point, yes, the Pastorals as post-Marcionite and drawing upon the Marcionite and Pauline tradition is something of a given.
“’That was excellently observed’, say I, when I read a passage in an author, where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, there I pronounce him to be mistaken.” - Jonathan Swift

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Re: The Pre-Existent Marcionite Interest in Timothy

Post by Secret Alias » Mon May 11, 2020 4:30 pm

which clearly not a birth name
I thought the same thing initially. Something like Theophilos. But Timotheos is a fairly common name. It's possible in theory. But the way the name is used in De Recta in Deum Fide and orthodox texts (Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria) argues against that.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Re: The Pre-Existent Marcionite Interest in Timothy

Post by Secret Alias » Mon May 11, 2020 4:43 pm

The idea here is that I used to have a binary notion of 'Marcionite' and 'orthodox' so that if someone or something was one he or she or it couldn't be the other. I think this is how all partisans want us to behave and think. But I am not sure that it is correct. Already I was stumped by the reports from Tertullian that the heretics paid special attention to Paul addressing Timothy telling him to 'guard the deposit' - that is the mystery or secret gospel. Then there is the Marcionite reference to Timothy and Silvanus and the denial that Mark or Luke were ever said to be disciples or fellow workers of Paul. Either the texts of the letters resembled ours in that Paul extolled Timothy even in the Marcionite versions and the Marcionite inherited a tradition about the importance of Timothy or they stole the knowledge and the texts from the orthodox. But it is hard to deny that Timothy held an important position in the Marcionite churches.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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Re: The Pre-Existent Marcionite Interest in Timothy

Post by Secret Alias » Mon May 11, 2020 4:54 pm

So let's go over this again. Timothy on some level was the original 'beloved disciple' of Paul - or at least one of two the Marcionites accepted. Acts pairs Timothy and Silvanus together so either the Marcionites knew of the 'truth' of Acts and corrupted that tradition or vice versa - i.e. Acts like the orthodox falsification of the epistle to Timothy was developed from a Marcionite original. I don't think Acts originally was associated with Luke. We know of a 'Jewish Christian Acts' - likely paralleled by the portion of the current text which deals with Peter. The material that deals with Paul may be the creation of 'Luke' or a later orthodox editor.

Acts as a Lukan text is part of a later orthodox effort to make Luke the beloved disciple of Paul. The Marcionites likely have held Timothy to have held that 'honored' (pardon the pun) place. Again that's reflected in the Pastorals being created. Let's first examine what Acts says. Timothy was a Jewish disciple (Jewish because of his mother). He and Silas join Paul in Lystra. Paul circumcised Timothy and then refused to circumcise Titus, and this became a major controversy in the early church. Already in 17.14 - 15 Timothy and Silas disembark at Berea and start a community there only to have them rejoin the apostle in Athens. By Acts 18:5 they come from Macedonia and help the apostle in his appeal to the Jews. In chapters 19 and 20 Timothy without Silas goes back to Macedonia and rejoins him later. But there is nothing in any of this to suggest anything resembling pre-eminent status for Timothy which is strange because it is known to Clement.

The 'authentic' Pauline Epistles are another matter. In Romans 16 (admittedly after the original ending to the epistle) Timothy is referenced as the apostle's 'co-worker.' In the Corinthian epistles Timothy takes center stage. Paul sends Timothy in 4.17 to the community as "Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church." At the end of the epistle again at 16.10 it is said "when Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am." He is referenced at the beginning of the second epistle as "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God in Corinth, together with all his holy people throughout Achaia."

Timothy and Silas are mentioned together in 1:19 "For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” It is presumed that he is the 'brother' who is sent to the community in the rest of the letter thus taking on a position of pre-eminence. He appears again at the beginning of Philippians "Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons" just as a similar 'Timothy is coming to you' ends the epistle "I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you ... But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel."

Colossians 1:1 "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother"

1 Thessalonians 1:1 "Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you."

1 Thessalonians 3:2 "We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith."

1 Thessalonians 3:6 "But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you."

2 Thessalonians 1:1 "Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ"

Here's what's important - no authentic Romans references.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Re: The Pre-Existent Marcionite Interest in Timothy

Post by Secret Alias » Mon May 11, 2020 4:54 pm

Sorry I have to eat. Later tonight will finish.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Re: The Pre-Existent Marcionite Interest in Timothy

Post by Stuart » Mon May 11, 2020 9:45 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 4:30 pm
which clearly not a birth name
I thought the same thing initially. Something like Theophilos. But Timotheos is a fairly common name. It's possible in theory. But the way the name is used in De Recta in Deum Fide and orthodox texts (Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria) argues against that.
De Recta in Deum Fide was written sometime between 280 AD and 323 AD (Nicene). More realistic between 290 AD and 313 AD (legalization of Christianity). Let's just say at about the start of the 4th century.

This is of course a very minor point. I concur in the main, the Marcionites revered Timothy.

We see that besides the openings which mention Timothy [1], we have three passages in the ten latter Pauline collection to witness [2]:

1 Corinthians 4:17
Therefore I sent to you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.
2 Corinthians 1:19
As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No.
For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we preached among you, Silva'nus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No; but in him it is always Yes.
For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why we utter the Amen through him, to the glory of God.
1 Thessalonians 3:1-6
Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone,
and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's servant in the gospel of Christ, to establish you in your faith and to exhort you,
that no one be moved by these afflictions. ...
What is of note is Timothy is present in congregations when Paul is not. It's as if the writer is attempting to usurp the legend of Timothy and make it subordinate to and in agreement with Paul. Or on the flip side, the writer is attempting to tie the later Timothy to the Pauline legend for authority. It's not actually a straight forward companionship. It's a separation we see in Acts of the Apostles as well.

We also see in Acts 16:3 Paul circumcise Timothy. This is of course fiction, but it is symbolic perhaps of the proto-orthodoxy appropriating Timothy via Paul, whom they also appropriated. Their legends are bound together by the time Acts is written. But there is a hint they were separate at one point in the Pauline letters, coworkers who never worked together.


Notes:
[1] The openings of 2 Corinthians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonian, and Colossians (the formula was doctored in Philippians, so uncertain)
[2] Romans 16 you correctly identify as spurious. I would add to that spurious additions list 1 Corinthians 16
Last edited by Stuart on Fri May 15, 2020 9:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Pre-Existent Marcionite Interest in Timothy

Post by Secret Alias » Mon May 11, 2020 10:17 pm

There were lots of people named Timotheos https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timotheus_of_Miletus
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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Re: The Pre-Existent Marcionite Interest in Timothy

Post by Stuart » Mon May 11, 2020 10:25 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 10:17 pm
There were lots of people named Timotheos https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timotheus_of_Miletus
That's pretty decisive. :tombstone: I'll give you that one.
“’That was excellently observed’, say I, when I read a passage in an author, where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, there I pronounce him to be mistaken.” - Jonathan Swift

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Re: The Pre-Existent Marcionite Interest in Timothy

Post by davidmartin » Tue May 12, 2020 1:40 am

consider that Marcion seemed adamant Paul agreed with him on opposition to the Jewish deity
also that some gnostics seemed to use his works even the Sethian ones + the milder Valentinians
also he had a reputation as the 'apostle of the heretics'
could it be legends sprang up that Paul shifted his theological position to embrace a stronger dualism and basically did a 180?
Whether true or not epistles in his name appeared espousing such views, probably the gnostics were churning them out on a production line
Thus orthodoxy had to respond with letters such as Timothy to knock all that on the head

Orthodoxy might also be likely to affirm his imprisonment and death in Rome to quash any rumor he escaped giving opportunity for further letters
Not that they appeared to do this in 1/2 Timothy but there's a certain reluctance to mention what happened to him exactly!

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