The Old Testament, the Lord, and the Apostles

Translated by Paul J. Achtemeier

It is one thing to use the Old Testament (and the same holds true or sayings of the Lord or writings of the apostles) for the purposes of supporting or even refuting a view which is already in existence, and thus to regard it as a weapon. It is quite another thing when those writings become contributing factors in the formation of a particular brand of Christianity, whether in a positive manner or because they arouse opposition. It is not always easy, however, to differentiate between these usages in the period of origins with which our investigation is concerned. The two can blend together and one can be transformed into the other. The possibility also exists of employing scripture in support of a doctrine, even though it had no special importance for the establishment of that position, at least in the consciousness of those who produced it and who represent it. As a point of departure, we move from the end of the second century, prior to the stage of development represented by Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian which shows the church to be in possession of the two testaments, willing and able to use them in every respect in support of orthodoxy, and proceed backward toward the beginnings. What significance does the Old Testament have in the interplay of forces within Christianity?1 [199] [[ET 196]]

Perhaps Hegesippus could give us an impression of the ecclesiastical situation at the end of our period. But as a witness he is not fully satisfactory. He claims to have found, on his journey to Rome, that "in every succession and in every city,"2 the basis of faith had been "the Law and the Prophets and the Lord" (EH 4.22.3) -- that is, the Old Testament and the Lord.3 Eusebius immediately draws the conclusion from the words of Hegesippus that the latter has had contact with a great many "bishops" (EH 4.22.1; see above 190 ff. on Eusebius' use of superlatives) in the course of his journey to Rome. Hegesippus himself, in the portion reported in Eusebius, speaks only of contact with the heads of the Christian communities in Corinth and in Rome (EH 4.22.2-3). And even when we take into consideration everything else reported about him, we hear nothing at all about orthodox bishops with whom he had been in accord apart from James and his successor in Jerusalem (EH 4.22.4). Even Polycarp and Papias, who usually like to appear on [200] such occasions, are not present in the account. But as far as Corinth and Rome are concerned, [[ET 197]] Hegesippus' formula is no longer adequate for the churches of his day since for them, the Apostle Paul with his collection of letters has undoubtedly already assumed a regular place alongside the Old estament and the Lord around the year 180. The formula "Old Testament and the Lord" apparently applies more satisfactorily to the Jewish Christian communities of Palestine, whence Hegesippus came (EH 4.22.8), or preserves an expression which to some extent adequately described he ecclesiastical outlook of a Justin4 and a Papias a generation earlier. What we learn from Hegesippus concerning the state of affairs in all orthodox churches of his time can therefore only to a very limited degree be regarded as a result of his investigations on a journey to the West in which the current situation was recorded impartially. But for our present purposes (see further below, 213 f.) it suffices to note that wherever Hegesippus went, he found the Old Testament acknowledged to be holy scripture in the ecclesiastical brotherhoods. That is certainly correct. That there were orthodox Christians at that time who denied the Old Testament is extremely unlikely since its rejection was one of the chief characteristics of abominable heresy.

According to the view of the Basilidians, the Old Testament derived from the creators of the world, and the law in particular came from their chief (a principe ipsorum) who had led the people out of Egypt (Irenaeus AH 1.24.5 [ = 1.19.3]). Among the Valentinians, Ptolemy was the first5 to go beyond the position of complete rejection of the Old Testament, a position held by the founder himself as well as by Heracleon, and which surely also characterized Marcus. Ptolemy differentiated between various parts of the law, and traced one of them back to God. The "pure legislation" was fulfilled, not destroyed, by the Savior although he did abolish the "law which was intertwined with evil." Finally, a third group of regulations, the actual ceremonial law, should be understood in a typological and symbolic way, as an image of the higher, spiritual world. Since the law as a whole is imperfect, it could not have come from God, but derives from the "demiurge."6 [201] In this way, Ptolemy not only expressly [[ET 198]] rejected the teaching of the church, according to which "the God and Father" had given the law, but also rejected a view which regarded the devil as the actual legislator (1.2 = Epiphanius 33.3.2). The people with whom the Paul of the Acts of Paul contends in "3 Corinthians" forbid appealing to the prophets (1.10; see above 42 n. 99), and the false teachers mentioned in the epistle of Jude similarly reject the Old Testament revelation.7 The "elder" who was instructed by those who had seen and heard the apostles and their disciples, and from whom derive the examples of the correct use of scripture cited by Irenaeus (AH 4.27.1- 32.1 [= 4.42-49]), strongly opposes a use of the Old Testament which separates it from God, connects it with that inferior being the demiurge (AH 4.27.4 [= 4.43.1]), and thus depreciates its content for the Christians. In this connection we need not even mention the name of Marcion, while Apelles, who was influenced by him, in many treatises uttered countless blasphemies against Moses and the divine words, according to Eusebius (EH 5.13.9).

The mode and manner by which the heretics discharged their obligations with regard to the Old Testament varied, and sometimes exegetical devices played a part. Such skills made possible the assertion that the prophets contradict themselves and thereby betray their complete unreliability (Apelles in EH 5.13.6; mhden holws alhqes irhkenai). Or the Lord is said to show that the ancient writings are wrong: "The followers of Valentinus and of certain other heresies suppose that the Savior said things that had not been said in the ancient writings," etc.8 Even apostles, and by no means only Paul, are brought into play against the old covenant. In his letter to James (in the ps.-Clementine Homilies; see above, 184), Peter complains bitterly that certain of the gentiles have rejected the lawful proclamation which he preached and not only that, but they have twisted the meaning of his own words so as to make it seem as though he says the same thing as they do. "But those people who, I know not how, claim to understand my thoughts, attempt [202] to explain words they have heard from me more accurately than I who spoke [[ET 199]] them, and they tell their disciples that this is my opinion, although I had never thought of it at all. If they dare to produce such lies already during my lifetime, how much more will those who come after me dare to do it after I am gone!" (2.6-7).

With that, the line is already established along which the ecclesiastical valuation of the Old Testament proceeds. It contains no contradictions, and neither Jesus nor the apostles stand in opposition to it. The cleft which, for example, Marcion in his Antitheses, or others in similar ways, opened between the God of the old and the God of the new covenants, is immediately filled in again by the presbyter of Irenaeus -- whatever fault the heretics find with the God of the Old Testament holds true no less for the Lord (AH 4.28.3-32.1 [= 4.44.3-49.2a]). This section concludes with the triumphant assertion: "In this way the elder (senior), the disciple of the apostles, discoursed about both Testaments and showed that both derive from one and the same God" (4.32.1 [=4.49.1]). And when Tatian was industriously at work on a writing entitled Problems in which he promised to show the obscure and hidden approach of the scriptures, the churchman Rhodon announced at once a refutation which would offer the Solutions for Tatian's problems (EH 5.13.8).

The Old Testament was only of limited usefulness in opposing the heretics. This was not simply because it is not possible to use it for convincing people who do not acknowledge it. It was not very much different with those who did accept it, since they read it also from their own perspective and did not allow themselves to be influenced by the opposing viewpoint; they had their "own interpretation" (epilusis, 2 Pet. 1.19-21). But in addition to that, a primary consideration was the fact that the controversy focused primarily on christological issues, and the Old Testament was not very productive for that. To be sure, occasionally someone disputed with the heretics even at that level. Thus, Hermogenes believed that he could use Psalm 19.4f. (=18.6 LXX) as a support for his position that Christ, at the time of his return to his home above, left his body behind in the sun. The orthodox interpreted the passage differently, and Pantaenus also challenged the interpretation of the heretic on linguistic grounds.9 [[ET 200]]

Nevertheless, such instances are only sporadic in the period under discussion. [203] It seems to be more typical when Polycarp, who hates the heretics as much as he values scripture (Phil. 12.1), still does not attempt to use the latter polemically any more than does Ignatius. And it is not possible to determine whether Justin appealed to the Old Testament against the heretics to any significant degree. Certainly it could be employed in opposition to the immorality of the heretics, and also in opposition to the impossible notion of prophecy which Montanism cherished (see above, 136 and 145). Otherwise, with respect to error, we see the orthodox restricting themselves to the use of Old Testament threats of judgment (2 Tim. 4.14) or to the consolation that the Lord already knows his own (2 Tim. 2.19, following Num. 16.5). And this is done by a person who cherishes the conviction that it is precisely a knowledge of scripture that equips the leader of the community both in and for this struggle (2 Tim. 3.14-16). More than a few times, the assertion is made that the Old Testament had already alluded to the fact that heretics would arise. The wise man whom Clement of Alexandria had heard speaking, probably Pantaenus, discovered the heretics in those "who sit in the seat of the scornful" (Ps. 1.1 in Strom. 2.[15.]67.4). And where particularly grevious sinners appear in the Old Testament, they are viewed as types of the new godlessness, and comfort is derived from contemplating the fate which overtook them. The epistle of Jude, and likewise 2 Peter (2.1-22), which follows it for the most part, depicts the false believers as the counterparts of the unfaithful Israelites, of the fallen angels, of the men of Sodom and Gomorrah, of a Cain, Balaam, and Korah (Jude 5-13) -- as the impious people of the last times who are announced by the prophet Enoch (Jude 14-16). Second Timothy complains that the heretics rebel against the truth as Jannes and Jambres did against Moses (3.8) and the only material that 1 John has taken from the Old Testament is the reference to Cain, as the opposite of the Christian that is genuine, because orthodox (3.12).

As we have already seen with respect to 1 Clement (above, 104), the chief value of the Old Testament for the church, in its opposition to gnosticism, lay in the fact that by beginning with God as the creator, it made it more difficult to slip into a conceptual framework in which subordinate beings, or even the devil himself, had created [[ET 201]] the world. In that way, the connection between creation and redemption was preserved, and it was impossible to construe redemption as meaning redemption from creation. [204]

On this point (cf. Irenaeus AH 1.26.2 [= 1.22]), and on the whole in the acknowledgment of the Old Testament as the record of divine revelation, orthodoxy could easily come to an understanding with Jewish Christianity. But as soon as one began to deal with particular details, there became evident even here disagreement that separated the known Jewish Christians from that portion of the gentile Christians who had not renounced the old covenant. To be sure, both groups consciously subjected themselves to the guidance of the Old Testament and the gospel. But it made a great deal of difference whether one attempted to understand the latter on the basis of the former, or whether one approached the former from the viewpoint of a gentile Christian interpretation of faith in Christ. The inevitable controversy died out only with the demise of Jewish Christianity itself. As long as Jewish Christianity existed, gentile Christians who came into contact with it were offended by what they regarded as a Judaizing perversion of the Christian heritage, and were accused in return of having deprived the Old Testament -- and therefore a major portion of the divine revelation -- of its true meaning just as the arch-heretic Paul had done. We are no longer able to determine whether the lost writing of Clement of Alexandria entitled "Ecclesiastical Canon, or Against (or `To') the Judaizers" (kanwn ekklhsiastikos h pros tous ioudaizontas, EH 6.13.3) relates to this situation. After all, Egypt would have provided a particularly appropriate stage for that sort of conflict. Irenaeus accuses the "Ebionites" of supporting their peculiar and thoroughly heretical teaching with a most curious interpretation of the prophetic writings (AH 1.26.2 [= 1.22]). They regarded Jesus as merely human,[10] denied the virgin birth, and were not startled by the reference to Isa. 7. 14 (Matt. 1.23). They simply followed Theodotion and Aquila, who found there a "young woman" (neanis) instead of the "virgin" (parqenos) of the Septuagint (Irenaeus, AH 3.21.1 [= 3.23]; cf. EH 5.8.10). Thus textual criticism and interpretation of the Old Testament go hand in hand, whether to provide the basis for a non-ecclesiastical opinion, or to help ecclesiastical doctrine to be victorious. [ET 202]]

Justin plays off the orthodox understanding of the Old Testament and the gospel against the "human" convictions of the Jewish Christians ( Dial. 48.4). Concerning Ignatius, we have already heard (above, 131 f.) that he acknowledges the law and the prophets (Smyr. 5.1) -- the [205] "beloved prophets" (Philad. 9.2) -- but wishes to understand them solely on the basis of the gospel, and he sharply rejects the representatives of the opinion he is opposing, who want to establish their perspective on the basis of the Old Testament. Indeed, the Judaizers in Philadelphia have proved themselves to be unenlightened, and to the assertion of Ignatius that the gospel, as he understands it, is written in the acred "charters" (archeioi) they stubbornly answered: "That is just the question" (Philad. 8.2). Since the prophets had already gained entrance to the Father through Christ (Philad. 9.1) and had accordingly lived after the manner of Christ Jesus (Magn. 8.2), awaiting him in the spirit as his disciples awaiting their teacher (Magn. 9.2) and even having oriented their roclamation toward the gospel (Philad. 5.2), Ignatius could in no way conceive of any possibility that the prophets could have declared anything that was not also contained in the gospel. This gospel, together with the law and the prophets, constitutes a unity (Smyr. 5.1), but it is a unity in which the gospel takes the lead, and the others must follow. More than what is presented in the gospel, the chief content of which is outlined briefly in Philad. 8.2, cannot be found in the "charters" -- thus Judaism loses all justification and the possibility is thereby opened for Ignatius to limit himself for all practical purposes to the gospel, and to be satisfied with a more theoretical appreciation of the prophets, whose statements are no longer put to use.

At the center of the gospel stands the Lord, the other authority for that Christianity of which we learned above -- an authority superior to the "scriptures" not only because it dictates the way to understand them, but also because all the believers agree in respect for it. But even at this point there is great diversity. Each individual and each special group is fighting for its Christ and against the Christ of the others, and is endeavoring to enlist tradition and theological inference in his service. Here one attempts to produce what is considered to be the most authentic possible tradition of the life and teaching of Jesus -- attributed to the eyewitnesses themselves -- primarily by [[ET 203]] dressing up the tradition and supplying an appropriate interpretation. In my earlier work dealing with traditions about Jesus (Leben Jesu), I attempted to describe how the mode of viewing the Lord, both inside and outside the "church," takes the form of historical narrative, and as such demands unconditional belief, [207] and I will refer to that work for the postcanonical portion of the period we are discussing in the present book. At that time there probably was no version of Christianity worthy of note that did not have at its disposal at least one written gospel, in which Jesus appears as the bearer and guarantor of that particular view, and (if only with a silent gesture) repulses those who think differently. Each one found in the differing presentation of his opponent a falsification of the tradition concerning the Lord (see above, 183 ff.).

Jewish Christianity, in accord with the diversity it spawned, has at its disposal several gospels: the Gospel a the Nazarenes and of the Ebionites, as well as the Gospel of the Hebrews (see above, 51 f.). Alongside the last-named gospel, there appeared the cite>Gospel of the Egyptians (above, 50-53) as the corresponding book of the Egyptian gentile- Christians. The Gospel of Peter of the Syrian heretics already has come to our attention also (above, 66, 115), as well as the Gospel of Basilides (above, 170) and the Apocryphon of ohn of the Barbelo Gnostics (above, 49). Also attested from this period are the Gospel of Truth, which the Valentinians used and which differed completely from the canonical gospels,11 the Gospel of Judas,12 and certain items from the optic gospel literature (see below, 314 n. 32). In order to prove that the peculiar content of these books was divine truth, the gnostics asserted that the Savior had communicated the truth to the common people only in an ncomplete fashion, but reserved the most profound material for a few of his [[ET 204]] disciples who were capable of comprehending it (Irenaeus AH 2.27.2 [=2.40.3]). Sometimes it is the pre- crucifixion, sometimes the post- resurrection Christ who imparts this material; sometimes the recipients are identified simply as the apostles, sometimes individual disciples, male and female, are named.13

On this matter, it is scarcely possible to make any distinction between a Clement of Alexandria or an Origen and the heretical gnostics. The former also assume that in his teaching, Jesus acted differently toward those whom he trusted than toward the common people, and that [207] with reference to the apostles, he made a further distinction between the time before and the time after his resurrection (cf. Leben Jesu, pp. 376 f.). The Epistle of the Apostles (above, 184) also provides evidence that ecclesiastical circles by no means rejected the idea of extensive special instructions to the disciples by the Lord. 14 But where the "church" was in competition with heresy, the close agreement with heresy in this respect soon became distressing. Important as it was to secure the ecclesiastical interpretation of generally acknowledged tradition by means of exegetical effort, it was at least as important to establish firm boundaries between that which really could qualify as gospel tradition, and the great mass of hereticaI forgeries. We have already become acquainted with the efforts of Papias in this context, and have noted their hostility toward heresy (above, 185- 188).

Papias' conclusion was that apostolic tradition about the life and teaching of Jesus is to be found in the Gospels of Mark/Peter and of Matthew, and also here and there where his perception and probably even more, his particular preference had come across material that was agreeable and thereby proved itself to be genuine. We have suspected that he ignored the Third and Fourth Gospels because their usefulness had been called into question by the esteem with which they were held by the heretics. To be sure, Matthew and [[ET 205]] Mark also were used by heretics,15 but apparently not in so blatant a fashion as the other two. In addition, the place which Matthew and Mark occupied within the "church" was already so secure at the time of Papias, and the two gospels, especially the first, had become so indispensable, that there could no longer be any question of abandoning them. The encroachment by the heretics had to be countered in another way, namely, through exhghseis. One example of such a procedure will suffice. The Montanists referred Matthew 23.34 to their prophets, and thus called the churchmen, by whom those prophets were rejected, "murderers of the prophets" (Matt. 23.31). [208] "Ecclesiastical" theology preferred, on the contrary, another interpretation, and emphasized that the prophets about whom Jesus was speaking had been persecuted by the Jews, something which did not apply at all to the Montanists (the anonymous anti-montanist in EH 5.16.12). Since exegesis offered almost unlimited possibilities, it would be a mistake if one were to conclude from the mere use of one of the gospels, concerning which the church subsequently made a favorable decision, that already in our period the orthodox position of the one who used it was established without further discussion. Such an argument is inadequate in itself, just as the later ecclesiastical view was in no position to give the last word on the origin and nature of the canonical gospels. For this reason alone we could not expect to receive conclusive information from these sources, since we know that the concept of what is "ecclesiastical" developed gradually and involved transformations that were not unaffected by stimuli and limitations from the side of the heretics.

Papias felt that he could acknowledge only two of our biblical gospels. Perhaps this was because his particularly vulnerable situation made it advisable for him to limit himself only to what was completely reliable. It was somewhat different for his contemporary and coreligionist Justin. Justin did not shrink from using Luke as a source for the earthly life of Jesus, in addition to the other synoptics, and because he considered all three of these gospels to be written by apostles or their companions (Dial. 103.8), he acknowledged for [[ET 206]] them the same claim to credibility as for the Old Testament, with which they could alternate in the Sunday readings (Apol. 67.3). Thus sayings taken from the synoptic gospels are introduced with the solemn formula "it is written" (Dial. 49.5; 100.1; 101.3; 103.8; 104; 105.6; 106.4; 107.1).

Perhaps Justin knew the gospel of John, but even if he did, his outlook is intrinsically foreign to it.16 It is basically so foreign that we can scarcely silence the voice that would bid us to give up altogether any thought of such an acquaintance. Justin completely follows the narrative sequence of the synoptics, even where they conflict with John. Like John, Justin is possessed with the idea of existence of Christ as the Logos prior to the creation of the world, but he does not derive his proof from the Fourth Gospel, neither from the prologue nor any other portion; moreover he does not even derive it from the letters of Paul, [209] but seeks laboriously to press the synoptics into the service of such ideas. The miraculous birth or the confession of Peter must bear the brunt of providing a proof which John could have given with no difficulty. Whenever we feel certain that John can no longer remain silent, we find ourselves disappointed.17 That becomes all the more striking when we observe, in contrast, how Justin is able unreservedly to take advantage of his sympathies with the Apocalypse, where he has such. The least that we can say is that the gospel of John has left no noticeable impression on Justin. But in this respect, Justin represents the position of ecclesiastically oriented Rome in the middle of the second century. This is all the more evident insofar as the old Roman confession assumes the same stance toward the canonical gospels as does Justin, and like him follows the synoptic line.

Can it be a coincidence that immediately after Justin, the enemy of heretics who also took aim at the Valentinians (Dial. 35.6), we note the appearance in Italy-Rome of two representatives of this latter school who especially treasure the Fourth Gospel -- namely Ptolemy and Heracleon (Hippolytus Ref. 6.35)? To be sure, Justin's [[ET 207]] disciple Tatian placed the gospel of John on the same level as the synoptics, but he also broke with the church on account of profound differences in faith -- poisoned, so Irenaeus thought, by the Valentinians and Marcion (AH 1.28.1 [=1.26.1]) -- and he left the world capital to move once again toward the East. Thus Tatian cannot provide us with a satisfactory testimony concerning the moods and conditions within the "church" at Rome. The silence of a Dionysius of Corinth, of a Hegesippus, of a Rhodon, and of others whose enmity toward heresy goes hand in hand with their alliance with Rome, as we have already heard (above, 106-108), is regrettable, and should not be used to draw inferences in either direction. When an ecclesiasically oriented Roman again expressed himself with respect to our problem, it is for the purpose of vigorously rejecting the Fourth Gospel.

I am convinced that the Roman presbyter Gaius, whom Hippolytus also thought he should refute explicitly, is closely connected with those people whom Epiphanius [210] opposes as "alogoi" on the basis of statements made against them by the Roman Hippolytus.18 Their view concerning the Fourth Gospel is already present by the year 175, as the opposition of Irenaeus indicates (above, 141); and even if Gaius had not been active before the end of the century, he nevertheless appropriated for himself many of the views of that group. But he did not thereby fall under the charge of heresy on the part of his catholic opponents. They were, on the contrary, in complete agreement with his unrelenting condemnation of gnostics and Montanists. It was thus permissible for a Roman Christian from these circles, and an officeholder as well, to consider not only the Apocalypse but even the gospel of John as a forgery of the gnostic Cerinthus. 19 He reproaches it for its contradictions with the other gospels, plays Mark off against John (Epiphanius Her. 51.6), and betrays in [[ET 208]] general an extraordinary sympathy for the earthly life of Jesus as presented by the synoptics. Of course, the reasons thus advanced are not the true cause for his rejection of John. Rather, he sensed in the gospel of John a spirit of heresy with which his Roman-ecclesiastical attitude could not be reconciled.

If we listen to the sources without prejudice, it seems to me that this is the result: a current of caution with regard to the gospel of John runs continuously through ecclesiastical Rome, that center of orthodoxy, right up to almost the end of the second century -- a mood that manifests itself through silence and through explicit rejection. Even the silence becomes eloquent if one notices that people such as Ptolemy, Heracleon and Tatian, who are sharply attacked by the church, can treasure the gospel for similar reasons. Gaius in his own way gives expression to a feeling which dominated Roman orthodoxy [211] ever since the Fourth Gospel appeared on its horizon and which doubtless accounts for Justin's attitude when he consciously appeals to the synoptics for support, just as do the alogoi. Apparently the gospel of John was introduced into the world capital by personalities whose recommendation could not be accepted by the "church" there. Up until the end of the epoch with which we are dealing, it had still not overcome such reservations. To around the close of the second century, history is unable to name a single orthodox Roman for whom the Fourth Gospel had been of any significance. The line of orthodox admirers is first attested in Rome with the Muratorian Canon at the beginning of the third century, for the Roman origin of the ancient gospel-prologues is not certain. 20 That there were, however, at the time the prologues were composed (around 180), already orthodox theologians in the West who acknowledged the gospel of John as apostolic and valued it accordingly, is adequately attested by Irenaeus. But he reveals no Roman influence thereby. Apparently it was the close relationship between Gaul and Asia (cf. EH 5.1.3 and 17) that permitted the Asian Irenaeus, who even in his old age was proud of having been in contact, through Polycarp, with "John and the others who had seen the Lord" (EH 5.20.5-7), to accept a gospel attributed to the apostle John more unreservedly than was possible for Rome with its consciousness of responsibility as champion in the battle against heresy -- and without any special preference for the apostle of Asia. [[ET 209]]

If we go back to the period prior to Justin, I still remain convinced that it is impossible to demonstrate that any of the apostolic fathers used the Fourth Gospel.21 That is particularly noteworthy in the case of Polycarp, of whose bond with Rome based on a common enmity toward heresy we already are aware (above, 107). A survey of the gospel-like material22 seems to me to suggest that the situation with respect to Polycarp is quite similar to that of the Roman Clement, with whom he is so intimately familiar.

The first letter of Clement (about 95/96) as well as the letter of Polycarp (about twenty years later) make no use of the Fourth Gospel. And [212] just as, in my opinion, the hypothesis is fully justified that the former, like its contemporaries the first and third evangelists, knew the gospel of Mark and also a sort of "sayings-source," so also with regard to Polycarp we need not suppose anything different. Nor has C. Taylor been able to convince me that Hermas offers more concrete evidence here.23 Furthermore, I am particularly indebted to 2 Clement for strengthening the conviction that even for the later part of the period of the apostolic fathers, the question concerning which of the canonical gospels was, or were, in use by Christians, is justified only to a very limited degree.24

This awareness should also guide us as we investigate whence Ignatius, who lived quite a bit earlier, came to know something of the life of Jesus. Many think he had access to the Fourth Gospel. But the oft-cited "reminiscences" are ambiguous and do not lead to a firm conviction of dependence; on the contrary, they make the absence of any actual quotations appear to be be all the more curious.25 In any event, he does not appeal to that gospel for his great confessional statements concerning Christ in which to some extent he is in harmony with the gospel of John -- for Christ's pre-existence, deity, [[ET 210]] and status as "Logos." And for many things that seem to us to be "gospel"-like in nature and might have come directly or even indirectly from a written gospel, John simply does not enter the picture.

The Fourth Gospel knows nothing of the claim that Mary was a descendent of David,26 or that the Tetrarch Herod took part in the crucifixion (Smyr. 1.2). The birth from a virgin ( Eph. 19.1; Smyr. 1.1) and the conception by the Spirit (Eph. 18.2; cf. 7.2) are also foreign to John just as is the whole concept of the great mystery which occured at that time (Eph. 19.1). In the same context, we also read nothing in John about the colossal appearance of a star which emphasized the importance of this moment of world history (Eph. 19.2), nor similarly that at the end of the life of Jesus the heavenly, earthly and subterranean powers were witnesses of the crucifixion ( Trall. 9.1). The only passage that Ignatius really quotes from a written gospel -- containing the famous saying of the risen Lord that he is no "bodiless demon" (Smyr. 3.2) -- likewise does not belong to the [213] gospel of John, nor for that matter to any of the canonical gospels, and none of the church fathers ever claimed to find it in them.27

The situation with Ignatius is basically the same as with Justin (above, 205 f.). Both believe in the heavenly pre-existence of Christ, and yet the gospel writings which both of them use begin only with the miraculous conception of Jesus. In Trallians 9.1, Ignatius sets before his readers the decisive main points concerning the earthly life of Jesus, as he knows it from the gospel traditions, in express opposition to his docetically oriented opponents. But despite his enthusiastic emphasis on Christ's flesh and blood (8.1), he does not follow the pattern of the Johannine prologue by beginning with the entry of the heavenly being into our sphere; and while echoing the phrase "he became flesh" (sarc egeneto, John 1.14) which so fully conforms to his own faith (Eph. 7.2), he requires the confession of "Jesus Christ, who was of the family of David, who came from Mary, who was truly born, both ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, was truly crucified and died, . . . was truly raised from the [[ET 211]] dead . . ." (9.1 f.). Thus Ignatius apparently is as little aware of being dependent upon the Fourth Gospel for his conviction that Christ the divine being assumed flesh as is Justin. The same conviction also is expressed by 2 Clement (9.5) and Hermas (59 [= Sim. 5.6].5), but neither is in any way indebted to John.

Rather, the hypothesis that Ignatius used the gospel of Matthew might seem more appealing;28 but no really convincing evidence can be adduced even for this. Nevertheless it is certain that this gospel, if it does play some role, by no means exhausts what Ignatius thinks he knows about the life of Jesus. What was especially valuable for Ignatius in the tradition concerning Jesus was that which revealed the divine glory of the Lord,29 and what further [214] appeared to be appropriate for proving, in opposition to the view of the docetics, that Jesus had been a real human with flesh and blood throughout his entire life, as well as after his resurrection (cf. especially Trall. 9.1). I have no doubt that his opponents also had at their disposal gospel writings that vouched for the correctness of their teaching, and that they also knew sayings of the Lord to which they could appeal. Unfortunately, the gospels of both parties elude reliable descriptions today.

On the other hand, it appears to me to some extent demonstrated that the Gospel of John had a difficult time gaining recognition in the "church." But it succeeded. In Asia, the "apostolic" protector of the indigenous orthodox church took it under his wing.30 And neither the Asian Irenaeus, nor the "gnostic" Clement in Alexandria, nor the Montanist Tertullian in North Africa (whose inclinations in that direction were much older than his break with the church) were in a position to doubt or even to challenge the tradition that was thus [[ET 212]] produced. When the gospel canon was defined, which was to be valid for the entire church, Rome found itself overruled, to put it rather crudely. The resistance offered previously, and perhaps more instinctively than consciously, was abandoned all the more willingly since the reasons which had caused Rome to view the Fourth Gospel in a suspicious light no longer retained their old force around the year 200. At that earlier time, the danger of heresy was a burden to Rome, but now the gospel of John could perform a valuable service in the construction and establishment of the ecclesiastical proclamation of Christ, as it had developed, without fear of undesirable side effects.

If we have correctly understood and described the position of the "church" with respect to the biblical gospels, then the peculiar order which they assume in its canon becomes self-explanatory. Irenaeus (AH 3.1.1 [=3.1.2]) and the Muratorian list already attest the order Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. At first, [215] if we may begin after the period when one had to be content with just Mark and "Q" (see above, 209), the church made use of only the first two gospels, and probably arranged them according to size, following a principle that prevailed also with respect to the collection of Pauline epistles. After some delay, and not without encountering resistance, Luke followed, and only at the very last was John included. The idea that the chronological sequence of composition determined their order is merely an attempt to come to terms with an arrangement that originally had been established for different reasons.

Alongside the scriptures of the Old Testament and the Lord in the gospels, appear the apostles as the third authority of Christianity (see already the New Testament reference in Eph. 2.20). Their incomparable significance for the faithful does not need to be verified once more from the statements of the latter. Nor is it necessary to demonstrate that the apostles, by whom the tradition from the earliest Christian times is supported (as we already know), possessed enormous value for the ideological struggle. The apostles are introduced explicitly into the fight against the heretics by the epistle of Jude (17-19), which is paralleled in 2 Peter (3.2 ff.), or by Polycarp (Phil. 6.3); these passages neatly link the prophets, the Lord, and the apostles into a firmly knit order of battle. As the Jesus of the church [[ET 213]] already has not only pointedly uprooted the opinions of the heretics, but also has precluded the possibility of their having any authority among the right-minded by providing an accurate picture of their coming for the future (Justin Dia1. 35.3 ff., using Matt. 7.15; 24.11, 24 = Mark 13.22), so the apostles after him do the same thing to the same end (Jude 17-19; 2 Pet. 2.1 ff.; 3.2, 17). By means of gospels, which are said to derive directly or indirectly from them (or from their circle), they produce the traditional basis for the view of Christ represented at any given time. And even apart from this aspect of literary activity, the apostles stand as the focus of a voluminous literature -- letters by an apostolic author, acts of apostles, apocalypses -- which frequently is intended to do battle against quite clearly divergent views and doctrines, sometimes in service of the "church," sometimes of its opponents.

The apostle Paul holds claim to a special place. It may be even more necessary here than elsewhere to approach the evidence without prejudice. What is the significance [216] of the Apostle to the Gentiles in the ideological struggle? Where do we encounter his influence? Where is there a sense of obligation to him? Once again we will proceed by moving back from the end toward the beginning. At the same time, we would do well to remember what we have already discovered to be the probable history of many a community founded by Paul. We need to be clear about the fact that the Apostle did not always succeed in maintaining a firm hold over what he possessed. Even outside the circle of the Jewish Christians,31 with their bitter hatred of Paul and the resulting blunt rejection of everything influenced by him, we hear him disparaged.32

Hegesippus took his stand as a follower of the Old Testament and the Lord, but aroused our doubts (above, 196f.) as to whether he really had listed completely, as he apparently intended, the fundamental basic authorities for all orthodox churches of his time. We have denied that this was the case for those at Corinth and Rome, where the apostle Paul with his collection of letters must have stood [[ET 214]] alongside the Old Testament and the Lord around the year 180. But for Hegesippus himself that does not yet seem to have been the case, so that for him "the law and the prophets and the Lord" were, in fact, ill disposed toward this supplementation by means of Paul. This follows not only because in the other relevant passage he also simply refers to "the divine scriptures and the Lord" (above, 196 n. 3). It is much more significant that he was acquainted with the first epistle of Clement to Corinth (EH 4.22.1 f., 3.16), but not with 1 Corinthians. Rather, in the second passage mentioned above (196 n. 3), in a manner expressing complete ignorance, he immediately plays off against it "the divine scriptures and the Lord," particularly the saying of the Lord "Blessed are your eyes, since they see, and your ears, since they hear" (according to Matt. 13.16).33 In 1 Corinthians 2.9, however, quite the opposite is said -- "The good things prepared for the just no eye has seen nor ear heard," etc. Now in the fifth book of his Memoirs Hegesippus declares that this saying [217] is preposterous and only deception and opposition to Scripture could express itself in this manner (above, n. 33). But even if 1 Corinthians is unknown, then, as we shall also see, Paul is thereby completely removed from the picture. In view of everything we know about who showed preference for the content of 1 Corinthians 2.9,34 there can be no doubt who those people were who conducted themselves with such enmity toward truth -- they were the gnostics, with whom Hegesippus also crosses swords elsewhere (EH 4.22.5).

When we move back from Hegesippus to one of similar stripe, Papias, and ask what this bishop of a community that belonged to the regions reached by the Apostle to the Gentiles and was already in existence during Paul's lifetime (Col. 4.13) thought of Paul, it appears to me that again only one answer is possible -- nothing. We are already to some extent prepared for this since we fittingly connected Eusebius' failure to record any expression of opinion by Papias concerning [[ET 215]] the Gospel of Luke with the fact that the Third Gospel was the gospel used by the heretic Marcion (see above, 184 f., 187). When EH 3.39.12-17 informs us that Papias valued the Apocalypse quite highly, that he used the apostolic gospels of Matthew and of Mark/Peter along with other traditional materials from the circle of the twelve and finally that he also cites from 1 John and 1 Peter while in the same context various persons of the apostolic age to whom Papias appealed are mentioned by name (EH 3.39.2-10), its silence about Paul and his letters is completely clear, and cannot be interpreted any differently from the corresponding approach toward the gospels of Luke and John. Papias must have assumed a negative attitude here as well, even if it also may have manifested itself only through silence. That, in fact, the remains of the literary activity of Papias never show anything even vaguely resembling Pauline coloration is only mentioned in passing, since if this observation had to stand alone, it would prove precious little in view of the paucity of the remnants of Papias. Taking everything together, however, we find in Papias a churchman who, in addition to the Apocalypse and the genuine gospel tradition emanating from the bosom of Palestine, holds those two writings in highest regard which indicate their ecclesiastical orientation in a particularly clear way, the one [218] by its origin in Rome and its Petrine authorship [1 Peter], the other by its explicitly anti-gnostic thrust [1 John]. The letters of Paul (so long as we still must disregard the pastoral Epistles) could in no way compete with such writings, especially since they were compromised through the patronage of people like Marcion.

Justin, the contemporary and coreligionist of Papias, was no more successful than the latter in acquiring anything from the Apostle to the Gentiles. That is even more peculiar in his case since he carried on his activity in Rome, where "Peter and Paul" was the watchword, and at least Romans and 1 Corinthians were available. But in the case of Justin also, one must sharply minimize the claims of Pauline reminiscences in order to arrive at an acceptable result.35 Such allusions are of no help to me, since at best they spring up occasionally from the subconscious but evidence no kind of living relationship with Paul. Or what is one to think of this matter in view of the fact that it does not occur to the apologist to mention Romans 13 when [[ET 216]] he argues that the Christians have always patriotically paid their taxes (Apol. 17) -- Theophilus of Antioch refers to this chapter (Autolycus 1.11, 3.14); or that 1 Corinthians 15 in no way plays a role in Justin's treatise On The Resurrection -- Athenagoras calls the apostle to mind in his treatment (On the Resurrection 18)? Rather, for Justin everything is based on the gospel tradition. And if a third question may be allowed, how is one to explain the fact that in the discussion of the conversion of the gentiles and the rejection of the Jews (Apol. 49) any congruence with Romans 9-11 is omitted, despite the fact that they both, apologist and apostle, appeal to Isaiah 65.2? In this light, the fact that the name of Paul is nowhere mentioned by Justin acquires a special significance that can hardly be diminished by the observation that the names of the other apostles also are absent. In one passage we hear of John, the apostle of Christ, as the author of Revelation (Dial. 81.4); and even though the names of the apostles are not mentioned on other occasions, there are repeated references to their "Memoirs." With respect to Paul, not only is his name lacking, but also any congruence with his letters. But for a learned churchman who carried on his work in Rome around the middle of the second century to act thus can only [219] be understood as quite deliberate conduct.36 And if pressed to suggest a reason for this, it would seem to me that the most obvious possibility here would also be the reference to Marcion.

The fact that in Rome, unlike Hierapolis, the gospel of Luke did not experience a temporary rejection together with the letters of Paul is surely due to geographical considerations. Perhaps one might wish to explain in a similar manner the fact that another churchman, who stood in the forefront of the battle with heresy and whom we know especially as an opponent of Marcion, Polycarp of Smyrna, has a much more positive relationship to the letters of Paul than did Justin. [[ET 217]] Still, it is more accurate to find the reason for this in chronological rather than geographical limitations, and to remind ourselves that Polycarp wrote his epistle to the Philippians a good while before Marcion appeared. Thus he needed to feel no reservations about using Paul for support as he attempted to strengthen the backbone of the ecclesiastical minority in a Christian community that the Apostle to the Gentiles had founded and to which he had sent epistolary instructions (see above, 71-74). For him the blessed and illustrious Paul, with his wisdom, was a most valuable ally -- Polycarp knew full well that the Apostle to the Gentiles had instructed the Philippians not only orally, but also by means of letters.37 And although Polycarp apparently was not even exactly clear as to the number of such letters, and does not avoid the kind of language illustrated by the matter-of-fact way in which his ecclesiastical consciousness associates "the other apostles" with Paul (9.1), this is insufficient reason to doubt that he was acquainted with the canonical epistle to the Philippians. Concerning the other Pauline epistles, it seems to me that there are clear indications only for his having read 1 Corinthians and probably also Romans. Galatians and Ephesians also might have belonged to his collection, but I cannot free myself from doubts concerning the pastoral [220] Epistles.38 Polycarp clearly agrees with Papias, however, in the use of 1 Peter, which Eusebius had already noted (EH 4.14.9), and of 1 John (Polycarp Phil. 7.1).

We have already heard of the sympathy which the Antiochian churchman Ignatius, probably stimulated by Rome, showed toward the apostles Peter and Paul (above, 112, 117). In contrast to Polycarp, Ignatius does not betray any knowledge (as yet) of 1 Peter, nor of 1 John. But when we then inquire further as to the influence of Paul and his epistles, the result also is not very impressive. To be sure, alongside obvious deviations Ignatius advocates ideas, or perhaps better, attitudes that we similarly observe in the Apostle to the Gentiles who, like Ignatius, was facing martyrdom, and here and there Ignatius comes close to Paul with regard to external form. But a direct, fully conscious dependence on the letters of Paul still does [[ET 218]] not occur. In the single letter of Polycarp, who can be called a spiritual disciple of Paul only in a very limited way, the latter is mentioned by name three times (3.2, 9.1, 11.2- 3), and once a Pauline saying is explicitly quoted (11.2 = 1 Cor. 6.2). But in the seven letters of Ignatius, with the exception of the Roman watchword concerning Peter and Paul (Rom. 4.3), Paul appears only in Eph. 12.2 in a passage which does not exactly attest an extensive knowledge of the content of a relatively large number of Paul's letters. There Ignatius explains that Paul mentions the Ephesians "in every letter." That this is not true for our collection is generally acknowledged, and I regard as wasted effort all attempts to prove that it is at least approximately correct. As a matter of fact, if we exclude the pastoral epistles and the inscription of Ephesians, the city of Ephesus is mentioned by Paul only in 1 Corinthians (15.32, 16.8). And it is precisely that letter of the Apostle to the Gentiles, and indeed only that letter, which Ignatius assuredly had read. As for other letters of Paul [221] only a possibility exists39 -- this may be sufficient for those who are sympathetically disposed, but it cannot be forced upon anyone.

The reason I will have nothing to do with the question of indirect influence is the futility of an argumentation based on only halfway satisfactory evidence. Although such an influence cannot be denied for Paul in those decades in general, we are in no position to define and delimit it with precision in this particular instance any more than in others. My awareness of the extremely fragmentary nature of our knowledge also prevents me from speaking on this matter even with limited confidence. I cannot possibly adopt a procedure which draws straight lines between the few more or less sure points that can still be ascertained, and thus manages to make connections between relatively remote items -- connections the possibility and nature of which remain completely obscure. Paul and Ignatius are separated by a full half century that was quite rich in events of great significance for the [[ET 219]] Christian cause, and within which the development of Christianity in Antioch is almost completely unknown to me. The history of Paul has not encouraged me to expect that this city, where the Christian community did not belong to his circle during his lifetime and which received no letter from him, should suddenly open itself to him and to his writings (see above, 63). The period after Paul's death would seem to us to have been much more a time of diminution of the Pauline sphere of influence, rather than expansion. And what we may still have been in a position to ascertain concerning the shape of Christian life in Antioch to the time of Ignatius (above, 65-67) indicates that influences other than that of Paul were at work there and connects Ignatius to them, despite all his resistance.

Of course, all doubt would fade away if in the essentials of his teaching Ignatius were perceptibly dependent on statements from the Pauline epistles. But that is not the case. The only letter that could with certainty be ascribed to Ignatius' use was, as we saw above, 1 Corinthians -- that unit among the major Pauline letters which yields the very least for our understanding of the Pauline faith. And it is not even a "dogmatic" passage such as 1 Corinthians 15 that had bewitched Ignatius. But the Pauline proclamation certainly can not overflow into the postapostolic age through the channel of 1 Corinthians. [222] If the preservation and promulgation of the Apostle's preaching really had been the intention behind the original circulation of Pauline letters in this period, then Romans and the terribly neglected second letter to the Corinthians, which completely sank into oblivion alongside the first, would have had to provide the source to a much greater extent that actually took place. But in our investigation of the impact of the Pauline writings, whenever we come from the marshy ground of "reminiscences" and "allusions" to firmer territory, again and again we confront 1 Corinthians. This was true for Polycarp (see above, 217), is true for Ignatius, and will also be true for 1 Clement. It seems to me that the last named, 1 Clement, holds the solution to the riddle of why 1 Corinthians, which is so meager in didactic content, should have preference -- an esteem that accorded first place to it in the oldest collection of Pauline letters of which we are still aware.40 [[ET 220]]

We already know what made 1 Corinthians so valuable to the author of 1 Clement. He was not at all concerned with the Pauline gospel; in that case he would have put Romans, which also was available to him, to a different use than he actually does.41 1 Corinthians was an extremely important weapon for him in the conflict against Corinth (see above, 114), and perhaps it had been passed along to him by his allies there. Since the most obvious interpretation of 1 Clement 47.1 indicates that at the beginning of the controversy the author knew only one letter of Paul to Corinth, it seems that the entire Corinthian heritage from Paul had not already made its way to Rome during peaceful times for purposes of edification.42 Whatever Clement appropriates from 1 Corinthians makes a point against the adversaries in Corinth -- 1 Cor. 1.11-13 = 1 Clem. 47.3; 1 Cor. 12.12 ff. = 1 Clem. 37.5-38.1; and even a portion of the [223] hymn concerning love, 1 Cor. 13.4-7 = 1 Clem. 49.5. And from that time on, the purpose of 1 Corinthians was firmly established for the church: "First of all, to the Corinthians, censuring the heresies of schism" (primum omnium Corinthiis schismae haereses interdicens, Muratorian Canon, lines 42f.). But it is really rather peculiar and in need of an explanation that this extensive and multifaceted epistle is supposed to have had only this purpose.43

If we are not content to believe that it was by an accident of fate that, in the course of scarcely twenty years, precisely 1 Corinthians came to be firmly established and given special honor within the churches of Rome, Smyrna, and Antioch, then it must have been that church in which 1 Corinthians first came to be prized so highly -- indeed, the only church that had a discernible reason for such an attitude -- it must have been Rome that took the initiative. Rome did not want to withhold such an approved weapon from its allies in the fight against heresy. On this occasion Smyrna also may have [[ET 221]] received the epistle to the Romans, the use of which cannot be established for contemporary Antioch, although that possibility is not thereby excluded. Perhaps at that time both communities also obtained 2 Corinthians from the world capital, a document that Rome surely brought home as valuable booty from its Corinthian campaign. Some sort of compelling evidence of such possession, to be sure, can be offered at present neither for Smyrna nor even for Antioch. But such considerations may be left aside, even though they might throw a ray of light, albeit a woefully weak one, on the lengthy and obscure history of the collection of Pauline epistles.44 [224] It appears to me to be to some degree probable that 1 Corinthians was put at the disposal of the orthodox communities in Symrna and Antioch by Rome, about the year 100. That it at that time may also have received the widely discussed "ecumenical" stamp (1.2)45 is a suggestion that may be excusable in a book that is forced to rely so heavily on conjectures.

The small collections of Pauline letters, which were cherished at the beginning of the second century in the "churches" of Rome -- doubtless just as in similarly oriented Corinth, in Antioch and Smyrna46 -- were then surpassed and replaced by Marcion's more complete collection. I would regard him as the first systematic collector of the Pauline heritage. He who ruthlessly rejected the Old [[ET 222]] Testament and everything of primitive Christian tradition that stemmed from Palestine, was plainly bent on giving his teaching as broad a Pauline foundation as possible, while on the other hand, he was in a position to realize his aspirations since he was a well-traveled, educated, affluent person with numerous connections. It would not surprise me if we owed to his perception the short communication of Paul to Philemon, this purely private letter that hardly would have been read in communities prior to Marcion. And whoever wonders with Harnack why "the letter to the Galatians has been preserved for us at all"47 perhaps may also feel himself indebted to Marcion, since prior to his activity sure traces of Galatians are lacking, while the uncertain traces are sharply limited to Polycarp.

It is well established that Marcion came from Pontus, the neighbor of Galatia, and as he traveled out into the world, he could not have avoided the communities to which Paul had addressed his communication. Possibly he had already become acquainted with this letter in his native land. In any event, it is certain that it was from Galatians48 [225] and not, say, from Romans with its concise explanation that Christ was the end of the law (10.4), that Marcion got the idea about how he could break the back of the Old Testament, so highly treasured by so many Christians, and drive the Jewish apostles of Jerusalem from the field. Then on his journey through Asia Minor, and as he went further westward until he reached Rome, he may have collected everything that anyone here or there in the Christian communities possessed from Paul. Perhaps, together with the note to Philemon, he also brought to the West at that time the epistle to the Colossians, of which we are unable to detect even the faintest trace prior to Marcion.49

In line with this approach, it is difficult for me to believe that Marcion had already known the pastoral Epistles, which are not included in his canon. He who with utmost passion was in hot pursuit of every line from Paul -- he had to be! -- and who because of the paucity of traditional material would hardly permit any large scale wastefulness, also would have pressed these three epistles into his [[ET 223]] service by reworking them. There would have been even less reason to reject all of them together insofar as the epistle to Titus, which from Marcion's perspective would not be wedded for better or worse to the epistles to Timothy,50 offered very little of offense to him. But if this assumption is correct and is taken seriously, the further hypothesis seems to me valid that the pastoral Epistles still were not in existence at the time that Marcion made his decision as to the extent of the Pauline material. I see no way to accept Harnack's view: {blockin} Around the year 140, Marcion knew a collection of only ten letters; in all probability he did not reject the pastoral Epistles, but simply did not know them. But we are in the fortunate position of being able to trace back to around the year 100 not only the collection of the ten letters, but even that of the thirteen letters, for Polycarp's letter to the Philippians at the time of Trajan shows us through its quotations and allusions that [226] our present collection, including the pastoral epistles, was already in use both in Smyrna and in Philippi. The Pastorals thus had been added to the collection of ten letters already prior to Marcion, and the older collection was supplanted immediately in almost all the churches. Not only the original collection but also that containing 13 letters take us back to the end of the first century as the terminus ad quem!51 {blockout}

Thus there is portrayed for us here a Marcion who comes through Asia to Rome, but the pastoral Epistles elude him despite the fact that they have been in use -- and indeed not sporadically here and there, but as parts of a collection in official use -- for more than a generation, and even right in Smyrna, a city with which Marcion was in contact during his journey.52 Such a Marcion seems to me to be an impossibility, and for that reason the observations that led Harnack to his conclusions should be assessed differently. The basic reason for assigning an early date to the Pastorals is, for Harnack and many others, the notion that Polycarp reproduces "three passages from the pastoral Epistles in his letter."53 Whoever agrees with me in [[ET 224]] concluding from the negative stance of Marcion toward the Pastorals that prior to him (to say nothing of the time of Trajan) they cannot already have received recognition as letters of Paul (to choose a very guarded form of expression), will explain those "quotations" either (1) by denying that they reflect any direct dependence54 but instead derive from the common use of an established stock of ideas (as in the corresponding case of the contacts between Ignatius and the Fourth Gospel; see above, 209 f.), recalling that such connections also exist between the Pastorals and 1 Clement, and to close the triangle, even between 1 Clement and Polycarp -- connections that reflect a standardized way of speaking common in ecclesiastical circles; or, (2) if the citations appear quite unambiguous to him, he will have to conclude that it is the Pastorals that are derivative, and their author was dependent on Polycarp.55 That author doubtless comes from the same circle of orthodoxy as Polycarp. All the arguments against such an order of dependence do not in the least neutralize the force with which Marcion resists the assumption [227] that the pastoral Epistles had already been regarded with veneration within Christendom prior to the beginning of his activity.56

If we want to understand the origin of the pastoral Epistles, we must remember that just as the gospel of John began its existence as a heretical gospel, so Paul also enjoyed the favor of the heretics to a great extent. Marcion simply represents a high point, and is by no means a unique case. Zahn thoroughly demonstrated the close relationships of Valentinus and his school to the Apostle to the Gentiles;57 according to Clement of Alexandria Strom. 7.(17.) 106, Valentinus is supposed to have listened to Theodas, an acquaintance of Paul. The Valentinians "maintain that Paul has made use of the basic concepts of their system in his letters in a manner sufficiently clear to anyone who can read" (Zahn, 751). "The manner in which they cite the Pauline letters is just as respectful as the manner we find [[eT 225]] used by the teachers of the church of the following58 decades and centuries" (756). "The teaching of Valentinus is just as inconceivable without the letters of Paul as without the prologue to the Fourth Gospel, and it is no accident that Paul is preferred by all Valentinians as the preacher of the hidden wisdom who speaks out most clearly" (758). It is demonstrable that Basilides also made use of Romans and 1 Corinthians, and there may be some truth to Jerome's claim that Basilides treated the pastoral Epistles in the same way as Marcion (in the passage cited above, 223 n. 50). I need not continue naming other gnostics who appreciated Paul.59 Second Peter 3.16 will have occurred to everyone in this connection. And for the Montanists, Paul was just as indispensable as a witness to the activity of the spirit in primitive Christianity as was the gospel of John with its Paraclete. Even the Muratorian Canon (lines 63-68) complains that heretics are producing false letters of Paul in order to make propaganda for their false teaching by using the stolen prestige of the Apostle to the Gentiles. [228]

In this light, the reluctance with which the representatives of the church made use of the Apostle to the Gentiles around the middle of the second century (Papias, Justin, Hegesippus; above, 213-215) seems to me to be explicable. Perhaps, as the situation developed, some would have preferred henceforth to exclude Paul completely and to rely exclusively on the twelve apostles. But it was already too late for that. Rome (together with the "church," which it led) had already accepted too much from the Apostle to the Gentiles, had appealed to him too often, suddenly to recognize him no longer. He had become a martyr-apostle of Rome -- had helped it to develop the popular slogan "Peter and Paul"; and even if Rome did not really know how to begin to put to use Paul's letter to the Romans, 1 Corinthians had proved itself to be extremely productive for purposes of church politics in the hands of Rome. By that means, Paul and his letter came to have permanent claims on the "church." There were other cases as well where Christianity subsequently had to come to terms with all sorts of things that it had originally accepted without [[ET 226]] question and from which it could not simply retreat as circumstances changed. Thus initially one spoke without embarrassment, in accordance with the facts (and it is easy enough to find additional examples) about how Jesus also had been baptized; he was happy to be able thus to anchor the Christian practice to the life of Jesus. But then, in the struggle with evil or contrary antagonists, he took great pains to make a convincing case for the superiority of Jesus over John, or to explain just what Jesus could have expected to gain by being baptized for the forgiveness of sins.

Thus, despite all heretical misuse, Paul had to be retained as the "church's" apostle. But it was, of course, desirable henceforth to mark him unequivocally with the ecclesiastical and anti-heretical stamp. In the light of this, I am inclined to see the pastoral Epistles as an attempt on the part of the church unambiguously to enlist Paul as part of its anti-heretical front and to eliminate the lack of confidence in him in ecclesiastical circles. As its answer to the heretical Apostle of the epistles to Laodicea and Alexandria, "forged in the name of Paul" (Pauli nomine finctae, Muratorian Canon, lines 64 ff.) the church raised up the Paul of orthodoxy by using the same means.60 Such a need may have been felt even prior to Marcion. But since it [229] is difficult to find satisfactory evidence that the pastoral Epistles already were in existence prior to him (see above, 222- 224), there is really no reason why it could not have been his appearance that gave the church the decisive impulse for their production. Indeed, if Polycarp cannot serve as the terminus ad quem for the pastoral Epistles, explicit attestation requiring knowledge of them occurs first with the churchman Irenaeus, who begins his great work Against Heresies with the words "of the apostle" from 1 Timothy 1.4 (AH 1.preface).

However unpopular this view currently may be and however little I myself shared it a short time ago, it no longer seems to me today to be improbable that 1 Timothy 6.20 refers to Marcion's Antitheses -- perhaps even before they were put into written form.

I cannot accept the outlook which rejects such a late origin for the Pastorals because "in that case a reference to the great gnostic [[ET 227]] systems would be expected."61 We do, in fact, know of an orthodox author who doubtless flourished subsequent to Basilides, Valentinus, and Marcion, and yet makes no clear reference to these teachings; but in spite of this he wants to draw the Apostle to the Gentiles into the ecclesiastical phalanx of heresy fighters in much the same way as we have suspected of the author of the pastoral Epistles. I am referring to that presbyter in Asia who produced the Acts of Paul at about the same time that the Asian Irenaeus, motivated by the same ecclesiastical spirit, opposed the gnostics with the help of the Pastorals. These Acts speak in language "clearly saturated with reminiscences of the pastoral Epistles."62 Their author also has Paul advocating, by means of a letter (so-called 3 Corinthians; see above, 42 n. 99), the ecclesiastical viewpoint in opposition to a gnostic aberration that cannot be clearly identified.

The price the Apostle to the Gentiles had to pay to be allowed to remain in the church was the complete surrender of his personality and historical particularity. If already in the pastoral Epistles he has strayed far from his origins, in the Acts of Paul and the Epistle of the Apostles he has become merely the docile disciple of the twelve from whom he receives his instructions.63 [230] But even this sacrifice did not really help him. Wherever the "church" becomes powerful, the bottom drops out from under him and he must immediately give way to the celebrities from the circle of the twelve apostles. We have seen this same process taking place in Ephesus, in Corinth, in Rome and Antioch, with variations only on account of the differing locations and their respective histories (see above, 83 f., 112-118). And we soon reach the point where the church no longer needs the apostle to the nations for any mission, but divides up the entire world among the twelve. To some extent, Paul becomes influential only as part of the holy scriptures acknowledged in the church -- not the personality of the Apostle to the Gentiles and his proclamation, but the word of Paul [or, the word "Paul"] whenever it is useful for the development and preservation of ecclesiastical teaching. But that involves [[ET 228]] looking beyond the limits of the period presently under discussion. In our period we observe how the introduction of the pastoral Epistles actually made the collection of Paul's letters ecclesiastically viable for the very first time. Perhaps 1 John, which has a pronounced anti-heretical tone and came to be valued quite early in the church (Polycarp, Papias), performed a similar service for the heretical gospel of John. //end ch.9//


[1] That is the only thing of concern to us here. We leave aside the question of that use of the Old Testament which does not clearly relate to the disagreement within Christianity. So far as we can tell, Christians had not written commentaries on Old Testament books in the period with which we are dealing. Such activity first commences in a modest way with the Hypotyposes ("Outlines") of Clement of Alexandria. The prior stage in the lectures of Pantaenus and other of Clement's "elders" who have not left behind any written traces (Strom. 1.[1].11; Prophetic Excerpts 27.1) is no longer available to us. [199] Perhaps at that time Theophilus of Antioch also wrote an interpretation of the Proverbs of Solomon, although the only evidence for it comes from Jerome Illustrious Men 25. This is by no means outside the realm of possibility. Indeed, Eusebius reports that Hegesippus, Irenaeus, "and the whole company of the ancients" (kai o( pas twn arxaiwn xoros; EH 4.22.9) had called the Proverbs of Solomon a work of excellent wisdom, and Ignatius of Antioch really referred only to this Old Testament book in a clear manner [Eph. 5.3]. Nevertheless, we cannot appeal here to this commentary, assuming that it really existed, any more than we can to Melito's "Excerpts from the Law and the Prophets concerning our Savior and our Whole Faith" in six books (EH 4.26.12- 14), because we do not know whether they were used in the battle of Christian against Christian. In the Preaching of Peter, the "books of the prophets," which contained material about the whole activity of the earthly Jesus, were used in instructing the gentiles (Clement of Alexandria Strom. 6.[15].128; [ET by G. Ogg in Hennecke-Schneemelcher, 2: 101 f.]). The Old Testament served Ariston of Pella in winning Jews, and Justin used it in the same way in the Dialogue. We also refer only in passing here to the attempts of the epistles to the Hebrews and of Barnabas to find a positive significance for the Old Testament despite everything fhat stands in the way; it is not clear whether and in what way they were used as instruments in a disputation within Christianity.

[2] En e(kasth diadoxh kai en e(kasth polei. Diadoxh is a term used to designate official succession around the end of the second century. Ptolemy uses the word with reference to the apostolic tradition (Epistle to Flora 5.10 = Epiphanius 33.7.9; see above 120 n. 22). Ecclesiastical authors like to use it for the succession of bishops (Irenaeus AH 1.27.1 [= 1.24]). Thus Hegesippus wants what he describes to be regarded as the state of the apostolic, bishop-led churches, no doubt as opposed to heresy, in accord with his entire outlook. [See also below, 275 n. 95.]

[3] O( nomos kai oi( profhtai kai o( kyrios. According to Stephan Gobarus, Hegesippus refers to "the divine scriptures and the Lord" (below, 214 n. 33).

[4] Cf. Dial. 48.4: "Christ has commanded us not to follow human teachings but rather the proclamation of the blessed prophets and the teaching of Christ himself."

[5] Perhaps the same is true of the Valentinian Theotimus; cf. above, 48.

[6] Epistle to Flora (in Epiphanius Her. 33.3-7); see above, 120 n. 22.

[7] Jlicher-Fascher, Einleitung\7, p. 214.

[8] Oi( apo Oualentinou kai tinwn e(terwn ai(resewn, oiomenoi ton swthra legein ta mh eirhmena en tois palaiois grammasin.... From the Exposition of the Psalms by Origen (Pitra, Analecta Sacra, 2:335 ff., no. 3). Cf. Harnack, Geschichte, 1.1: 295.

[9] Clement of Alexandria Prophetic Excerpts 56 [ET in Grant, Second Century, pp. 54 f.]. On Hermogenes and his ideas, see also Hippolytus Ref. 8.17.

[10] Cf. Bauer, Leben Jesu, pp. 30 f.

[11] Irenaeus AH 3.11.9 (= 3.11.12). [A Coptic verion of a Gospel of Truth was found among the Nag Hammadi (Chenoboskion) materials (see above, 170 n. 39), and probably is to be identified with this Valentinian work. For ET with introduction and commentary, see K.Grobel, The Gospel of Truth (London: Black, 1960); the Coptic text may be found, with another ET, in M. Malinine, H.-C. Puech, G. Quispel, Evangelium Veritatis (Zrich: Rascher, 1956), and Supplementum (1961). See also Hennecke-Schneemelcher, 1: 523-531 (extracts); Grant, Gnosticism Anthology, pp. 146-161 (ET by W. W. Isenberg).]

[12] Irenaeus AH 1.31.1 f. (= 1.28.9). [See Hennecke-Schneemelcher, 1: 313 f. Whether this gospel, attributed to the "traitor" Judas by Irenaeus, has any relation to the recenily discovered (Coptic) Gospel of (Judas) Thomas can no longer be determined.]

[13] E.g. the Carpocratians and the "Gnostics" according to Irenaeus AH 1.25.5 [= 1.20.3] and 1.30.14 [= 1.28.7]; Ptolemy To Flora 4.15 (= Epiphanius 33.7.9; above, 120 n. 22]; Pistis Sophia and the Books of Je [see Hennecke-Scheemelcher, 1: 250-262]; Acts of John 88-102. [For a more detailed discussion of this material, see Bauer, Leben Jesu, pp. 374-376.] See also above, 119 f.; on John as the informant in the Apocryphon of John, see 49; on Salome, 50.

[14] Cf. my detailed arguments in Hennecke\2, pp. 114 f.

[15] Mark, for example, by Cerinthus (Irenaeus AH 3.11.7 [= 3.11.10]). We need not list the evidence for Matthew -- it was used by Jewish Christians as well as by gnostics (e.g. Ptolemy, Heracleon) and Montanists.

[16] So Jlicher-Fascher, Einleitung\7 p. 474.

[17] Cf. W. Bousset, Die Evangeliencitate Justins des Mrtyrers(Gttingen, 1891), pp. 115- 121. More recently W. v. Loewenich has dealt with this problem in Das Johannes- Verstndnis im zweiten Jahrhundert, ZNW Betheft 13 (1932): 39-50; [also A. J. Bellinzoni, The Sayings of Jesus in the Writings of Justin Martyr, Supplements to Novum Testamentum 17 (Leiden: Brill 1967): 134-138, 140].

[18] Her. 51. The attacks by Hippolytus include a work entitled "On the Gospel and Apocalypse of John" (u(per tou kata Iwanhn euaggeliou kai apokalypsews). On the "alogoi," cf. E. Schwartz, &UUMLber den Tod der Shne Zebedaei, Abhandlungen der Gttinger Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften (1904), pp. 29 ff.; Jlicher- Fascher, Einleitung\7, pp. 257, 485; M. Meinertz, Einleitung in das NT\4 (Paderborn, 1933), p. 256 (the Roman alogoi, the Roman presbyter Gaius).

[19] Epiphanius Her. 51.3. If Gaius excludes 1 John from the charge, he agrees in this judgment distinguishing the gospel from the epistle with the churchman Papias and probably also with Polycarp, whose acquaintance with 1 John is certain, while it is at least not demonstrable that he knew the Fourth Gospel.

[20] Cf. Harnack Evangelien-Prologe, pp. 16 f.

[21] See Bauer, Johannesevangelium\3, p. 244.

[22] Conveniently collected in The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers, by a committee of the Oxford Society of Historical Theology (Oxford, 1905). [For a more recent investigation, see H. Kster, Synoptiche &UUMLberlieferung bei den apostolischen Vtern, TU 65 (1957). On 1 Clement and the epistle of Polycarp in particular, see R. M. Grant, 1 Clement (= Grant, AF 2, 1965), p. 103; and Schoedel, Polycarp ... Papias, p. 5.]

[23] C. Taylor, The Witness of Hermas to the Four Gospels (1892). [For a recent survey of Hermas' relation to the New Testament, see G. F. Snyder, The Shepherd of Hermas (= Grant, AF 6, 1968), pp. 14-16.]

[24] [For a recent survey of the material, see H. H. Graham, 2 Clement (= Grant, AF 2, 1965), pp. 133f.]

[25] [See now R. M. Grant, Ignatius (= Grant, AF 4, 1966), p. 24.]

[26] Ignatius Eph. 18.2, Smyr. 1.1, Trall. 9.1; cf. W. Bauer, Leben Jesu, p. 15.

[27] Origen traces the story back to the "Teaching of Peter" (On first Principles 1.preface.8), Jerome to the Gospel of the Hebrews (Illustrious Men 16), while Eusebius admits that he does not know whence Ignatius derived this information (EH 3.36.11). [See also Grant, Ignatius, pp. 115 f.]

[28] In the opinion of B. H. Streeter, The Four Gospels (London: Macmillan, 1924), pp. 500 ff., with which, e.g., F. C. Grant agrees in The Growth of the Gospels (New York: Abingdon, 1933), pp. 14, 233, the gospel of Matthew originated in Antioch.

[29] He proved this, however, with gospel material of a different type and origin than was used by the fourth evangelist, for whom this was also a concern of utmost importance.

[30] Even if the Fourth Gospel had already been brought into relationship with the apostle John before it came into the sphere of influence of the church, that does not produce any difficulties. Peter also is claimed to be the author of the heretical gospel that bears his name, as well as being the patron of the ecclesiastical gospel of Mark. And John the son of Zebedee was also the hero of the gnostic Acts of John.

[31] On the attitude of the Jewish Christians toward Paul, see my treatment in Hennecke\2, pp. 127 f., [and in Hennecke-Schneemelcher, 2: 71. See also below, 236, 262 f.].

[32] See above, 149 n. 5. Appeal may also be made to James 2.14-26 as evidence of how difficult it was to retain an undistorted recollection of the Apostle to the Gentiles.

[33] Stephen Gobarus, according to Photius, Library, codex 232. [To clarify the argument, the context is reproduced here: "'The good things prepared for the just (ta h(toimasmena tois dikaiois agaqa) no eye has seen nor ear heard nor have they ascended to the human heart' (cf. 1 Cor. 2.9). Hegesippus, an ancient and apostolic man, says in the fifth book of his Memoirs -- I do not know quite what he meant -- that these words were spoken vainly, and those who said them lied against both the divine sciptures and the Lord who said 'Blessed are your eyes....'"]

[34] See Bauer, Johannesevangelium\3, pp. 4 f.

[35] On this matter, cf. Bousset, Evangeliencitate Justins, pp. 121-123.

[36] It is fitting also to be reminded of Celsus, who could hardly have gained his insight that orthodoxy represented the "great" church over against the heretics (Origen Against Celsus 5.59; cf. 5.61 where the ecclesiastically oriented Chistians are oi( apo tou plhqous, "those of the multitude") anywhere but in Rome, and thus it was apparently there that he pursued his basic studies of the religion he combatted. For him also, the gospels are overwhelmingly of the synoptic type, and he also surely knows certain Pauline ideas, but not letters of the Apostle to the Gentiles, Cf. K. J. Neumann, RPTK\3, 3 (1897): 774.42 ff.; H. J. Holtzmann, Lehrbuch der historisch-kritischen Einleitung in das Neue Testament\3 (Freiburg im B,, 1892), p. 111.

[37] Polycarp Phil. 3.2. On the plural "letters," see Bauer, Ignatius, ad loc. (p. 287), [and also Schoedel, Polycarp ... Papias, pp. 14 f.].

[38] Cf. M. Dibelius, Die Pastoralbriefe, Handbuch zum NT 13\2 (1931) on 1 Tim. 6.7 and 10 [this commentary subsequently has been revised by H. Conzelmann, 1955\3 and 1964\4]. See also below, 222-225 and 226 f.

[39] If Ignatius also knew Ephesians (compare the inscription to his Ephesian letter with the Pauline Eph. 1.3 ff.; this has the best claim after 1 Corinthians), and already knew it as a letter to Ephesus (which is unlikely on account of Marcion [who seems to call it "Laodiceans"]), then the plural implied in the words "every letter" would be explained. [Grant, Ignatius, p. 43, accepts an older interpretation that takes the phrase en pash epistolh to mean "in an entire letter," referring to Ephesians alone.] Of course, it would be explained almost equally well if it were conceded that the passage refers to Romans (16.5) and 2 Corinthians (1.8) with their references to Asia (see below, 221).

[40] In the Muratorian Canon. Marcion also attests this attitude, even if he himself inserts Galatians before it. Cf. Jlicher-Fascher, Einleitung\7, pp. 546 f.

[41] Strictly speaking, he uses it only for the purpose of moral admonition -- 1 Clem. 35.5-6, following Rom. 1.29-32; 1 Clem. 33.1, following Rom. 6.1.

[42] It also seems that the letter to the Philippians was not yet used in Clement's Roman church. Otherwise he surely also would have remembered Phil. 2.1-12 when he refers to the example of the humble Christ (16.17) and when he matched Paul against the Corinthians (47.1).

[43] Indeed, the Muratorian Canon is so greatly under the influence of this attitude, which has been transmitted to it, concerning the purpose of the epistle, that even 2 Corinthians is pictured as not having any different aim (lines 42 and 54 f.).

[44] The situation with regard to the collection of the Pauline epistles is entirely different from that of the letters of Ignatius. The latter were written one after another and then were immediately brought together. With Paul, those letters which are surely genuine cover a period of a decade, and were sent to at least six different, in part widely separated localities (Galatia, Colossae, Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth, Rome). Further decades were required to establish the prerequisites according to which pseudo-Pauline letters could be added (Ephesians, 2 Thessalonians; prior to the year 110 according to Jlicher-Fascher, Einleitung\7, p. 67), and last of all the pastoral Epistles. That in a period when Pauline influence was declining, extant collections of his letters had been systemattcally completed everywhere at once is douhtful to me, and I can hardly regard it as really proven that Polycarp possessed a collection of ten, to say nothing of thirteen, Pauline writings [ -- regardless or what he had of the letters of Ignatius].

[45] Cf. Harnack, Briefsammlung, p. 9; Jlicher- Fascher, Einleitung\7, p. 472; Lietzmann, ''Zwei Notizen zu Paulus,'' pp. 3-5 [= 151-153]. In this way, Lietzmann's question in his commentary An die Korinther, ad loc., also would be answered: "Why should the redactor have dealt only with 1 Corinthians in that manner, while sparing all the other epistles?"

[46] Here the development flourished most extensively, since Polycarp possessed especially wide-ranging connections. He was an Asiatic, but also was in touch with Antioch and Rome, and even had contacts in Macedonia.

[47] Harnack, Briefsammlung, p. 72.

[48] That is the only way to explain the fact that in Marcion's holy sciptures, Galatians stands first in the collection of Paul's letters.

[49] With the exception of Ephesians, if it is spuious; but we do not know when and where it made use of Colossians.

[50] Just as little as it was for those heretics who, according to Clement of Alexandria, rejected only the two epistles to Timothy (Strom. 2.[11.]52), while we hear of Tatian that he recognized just the epistle to Titus (Jerome Preface to the Commentary on Titus 7 = Vallarsi ed. p. 686; Migne PL 26).

[51] Harnack, Briefsammlung, p. 6.

[52] Harnack, Marcion\2, p. 28 (referring to Polycarp's rebuke of Marcion; above, 70].

[53] Harnack, Briefsammlung, p. 72,

[54] Cf. M. Dibelius, Pastoralbriefe, pp. 6, 53, 55.

[55] [H. F. von Campenhausen has even argued that Polycarp was the author of the Pastorals; see below, 307. On the problem in general, see also Schoedel, Polycarp ... Papias, pp. 5, 16, etc.]

[56] Moreover, even the Muratorian Canon preserves the recollection that the pastoral Epistles were added at first as a supplement to a collection that had ended with the letter to Philemon (lines 59 ff.).

[57] Zahn, Geschichte, 1.2 (1889): 751- 758.

[58] Italics mine. However, I reject Zahn's continuation as an unproved prejudice; "That was precisely the phraseology that Valentinius found to be dominant in the church and that his school appropiated."

[59] Cf. R. Liechtenhan, Die Offenbarung im Gnostizismus(Gtingen, 1901), p, 79.

[60] This sort of analysis of the purpose of the Pastorals does not, of course, exclude the other view which sees them as a weapon in the conflict with the heretics. Cf. above, 76.

[61] As in Dibelius, Pastoralbiefe, p. 6.

[62] Rolffs in Hennecke\2, pp. 196 f. [See now also Schneemelcher in Hennecke-Schneemelcher, 2: 348.]

[63] See above, 114 n. 6, and cf. C. Schmidt ''Ein Berliner Fragment der alten Praxeis Paulou,'' Sb Berlin 6 for 1931, pp. 5 f. [= 39 f.].