"The Sources of Celsus's Criticism..."

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Secret Alias
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Re: "The Sources of Celsus's Criticism..."

Post by Secret Alias »

But how did he come across this work? Irenaeus cites from heretical works by name. Is this an orthodox work or a heretical work?
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Peter Kirby
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Re: "The Sources of Celsus's Criticism..."

Post by Peter Kirby »

Secret Alias wrote: Thu Feb 22, 2024 4:24 pm But how did he come across this work? Irenaeus cites from heretical works by name. Is this an orthodox work or a heretical work?
You got me. Surely it's quoted from inside an anti-heretical text, because that's conceivable and you've suggested it.
Secret Alias
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Re: "The Sources of Celsus's Criticism..."

Post by Secret Alias »

I think like all things related to the "heresies" we have to ask ourselves was a sect like "the Marcionites" really that indistinguishable from "orthodox" Christianity? What I mean is, if you were a pagan and you were walking along the street and entered into a church would you know immediately whether you had entered a Marcionite church or an orthodox one? Probably not right? So that was the danger that Irenaeus saw in these "sects" and why he keeps attempting to play up distinguishing characteristics between the two. Let's suppose that, like the Samaritans, the orthodox and the Marcionites were both dying out, would it be conceivable that the last remnants of "Christianity" - a scattered collection of "orthodox" and "Marcionite" communities - would it be conceivable that they united as a last gaps of ecumenicism? It happened with Samaritanism with regards to the normative and Dosithean "sects" and Boid argues that much or some of the current orthodoxy is Dosithean. What I am saying is that on some level there were communities which had the characteristics Irenaeus gives to them but on another level the Church Father exaggerates the degree to which the two orthodoxies (because the heresies thought themselves "orthodox") were incompatible with one another.

Now when we turn to Celsus's description of Christianity (all from memory) but the True Word starts right with what we see in the pages of Irenaeus, namely that Christianity was filled with "all sorts of heresies" and they couldn't even agree on a common name (perhaps referencing Chrestos and Christos). But was this reality true from let's say the Marcionite side? When we look at Apelles's testimony he says something like faith is all that matter and that each sect should be allowed to carry on with their individual beliefs, a sort of "hippy" mentality. It is the orthodox, the reporter apparently writing to the future Pope Callistus, basically interrogating Apelles to see how his sects beliefs conform with "monarchianism." This is seems to be the underlying obsession with Irenaeus against the Marcionites and it is passed on to Tertullian's work (which I think was a reworking of Irenaeus's lost Against Marcion). Celsus also picks up on these orthodox concerns.

So my point is that if you were writing things from the Marcionite perspective you wouldn't have this absolutely monarchianism. This absolute devotion to one ruling power. This comes from the orthodox. Now maybe Celsus did go out of his way to grab a Marcionite text or, more likely found an orthodox text like the original basis for the Dialogues of Adamantius where were are actually ALLOWED TO HEAR THE MARCIONITES SPEAK. This is where we get statements like the orthodox divided the original gospel into three and four (likely reflecting opposition to John). But I think as a whole that, as with the internet, those writers who managed to get their opinions "online" get heard more often than those who only publish in "hidden away" academic treatises, the orthodox were absolutely opposed to "secret knowledge" unlike the heresies who guarded their opinions behind veils. As a result, Christianity in the third century came to be defined by orthodox standards.
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