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BOOK IV

1. Every sentence, indeed the whole structure, arising from Mar-
cion's impiety and profanity, I now challenge in terms of that
gospel which he has by manipulation made his own. Besides that,
to work up credence for it he has contrived a sort of dowry, a
work entitled Antitheses because of its juxtaposition of opposites,
a work strained into making such a division between the Law and
the Gospel as thereby to make two separate gods, opposite to each
other, one belonging to one instrument (or, as it is more usual to
say, testament), one to the other, and thus lend its patronage to
faith in another gospel, that according to the Antitheses. Now I
might have demolished those antitheses by a specially directed
hand-to-hand attack, taking each of the statements of the man
of Pontus one by one, except that it was much more convenient
to refute them both in and along with that gospel which they
serve: although it is perfectly easy to take action against them
by counter-claim,1 even accepting them as admissible, account-
ing them valid, and alleging that they support my argument,
that so they may be put to shame for the blindness of their author,
having now become my antitheses against Marcion. So then I
do admit that there was a different course followed in the old
dispensation under the Creator, from that in the new dispensation
under Christ. I do not deny a difference in records of things
spoken, in precepts for good behaviour, and in rules of law, pro-
vided that all these differences have reference to one and the same
God, that God by whom it is acknowledged that they were or-
dained and also foretold. Long ago did Isaiah proclaim that the
law will go forth from Sion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem—
another law, he means, and another word. In fact, he says, he
shall judge among the gentiles, and shall convict many people,a
meaning
not of the one nation of the Jews, but of the gentiles who by the
new law of the gospel and the new word of the apostles are being
judged and convicted in their own sight in respect of their ancient

1. 1 Action by counterclaim. By the forensic device of exceptio peremptaria, the
defendant, arguing that even on his own evidence the claimant must be non-
suited, obtains the right to speak first, and becomes in effect the complainant.


IV.1 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 259

error, as soon as they have believed, and thereupon beat their
swords into ploughshares, and their zibynae (which is a sort of
hunting-spear) into pruning-hooks—that is, they are converting
their formerly fierce and savage minds into honest thoughts
productive of a good result. And again: Hearken to me, hearken to
me, my people; and ye kings incline your ears to me: because a law will
go forth from me, my judgement also for a light of the gentilesb
that by which he had judged and decreed that the gentiles also
should be enlightened by the law and word of the gospel. This
will be the law also in David, an unassailable law, because it is
perfect, converting the soul,c from idols unto God. This also will be
the word, of which Isaiah says again, Because the Lord will make
a decisive word upon the earth:d
for the new testament is made very
concise, and is disentangled from the intricate burdens of the law.
What need of more, when more openly and more clearly than
light itself the Creator by the same prophet foretells of the new-
ness? Remember not the former things, neither consider ye the things of
old: old things have passed away, new things are arising: behold, I make
new things, which shall now arise.e
Also by Jeremiah: Renew for your-
selves a new fallow, and sow not among thorns, and be circumcised in the
foreskin of your heart.f
And in another place: Behold, the days will
come, saith the Lord, when I will make for the house of Jacob and the
house of Judah a new testament, not according to the testament which I
ordained for their fathers in the day upon which I took to me the ordaining
of them, so as to bring them out from the land of Egypt.g
Thus he indi-
cates that the original testament was temporary, since he declares
it changeable, at the same time as he promises an eternal testa-
ment for the future. For by Isaiah he says: Hearken to me and ye
shall live, and I will ordain for you an eternal testament,h
adding also
the holy and faithful things of David, so as to point out that that
testament would become current in Christ. That Christ would be
of the family of David, in accordance with Mary's genealogy, he
prophesied also figuratively in the rod which was to come forth
out of the root of Jesse.i If therefore he has said that other laws
and other words and new ordainings of testaments would come
from the Creator, so that his intention is that there shall be other
and better offerings of the sacrifices as well, and that among the
gentiles—as Malachi says, I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord,
neither will I accept your sacrifices at your hands, because from the rising
of the sun even to its going down my name is glorified among the gentiles,


IV.2 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 261

and in every place sacrifice is offered to my name, even a pure offering,j
which means simple prayer out of a pure conscience—it follows
that every change which results from renewal must lead to dif-
ference from those things of which it is <the renewal>, and to
opposition as a result of difference. For as nothing that suffers
change escapes being different, so nothing different avoids being
contrary. So then, the contrariety which results from difference
will pertain to the same one to whom was due the change which
resulted from renewal. He who ordained the change, also estab-
lished the difference: he who foretold of the renewal, also told
beforehand of the contrariety. Why need you explain a difference
of facts as an opposition of authorities? Why need you distort
against the Creator those antitheses in the evidences, which you
can recognize also in his own thoughts and affections? I will smite,
he says, and I will heal:k I will slay, he says, and also make alive, by
establishing evil things and making peace:l because of which it
is your custom even to censure him on account of fickleness and
inconstancy, in forbidding what he commands and commanding
what he forbids. Why then have you not also thought out some
antitheses for the essential attributes of a Creator always at vari-
ance with himself? Not even among your men of Pontus, if I
mistake not, have you been able to realize that the world is con-
structed out of the diversities of substances in mutual hostility.
And so you ought first to have laid it down that there was one
god of light and another of darkness: then you could have affirmed
that there was one god of the law and another of the gospel. For
all that, judgement is already given, and that by manifest proofs,
that he whose works and ways are consistently antithetic, has
also his mysteries <of revelation> consistently of that same pattern.

2. You have there my short and sharp answer to the Antitheses.
I pass on next to show how his gospel—certainly not Judaic but
Pontic—is in places adulterated: and this shall form the basis of
my order of approach. I lay it down to begin with that the docu-
ments of the gospel have the apostles for their authors, and that
this task of promulgating the gospel was imposed upon them by
our Lord himself. If they also have for their authors apostolic
men, yet these stand not alone, but as companions of apostles or
followers of apostles: because the preaching of disciples might be
made suspect of the desire of vainglory, unless there stood by it


IV.2 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 263

the authority of their teachers, or rather the authority of Christ,
which made the apostles teachers. In short, from among the
apostles the faith is introduced to us by John and by Matthew,
while from among apostolic men Luke and Mark give it renewal,
<all of them> beginning with the same rules <of belief>, as far as
relates to the one only God, the Creator, and to his Christ, born
of a virgin, the fulfilment of the law and the prophets. It matters
not that the arrangement of their narratives varies, so long as
there is agreement on the essentials of the faith—and on these
they show no agreement with Marcion. Marcion, on the other
hand, attaches to his gospel no author's name,1—as though he to
whom it was no crime to overturn the whole body, might not
assume permission to invent a title for it as well. At this point I
might have made a stand, arguing that no recognition is due to
a work which cannot lift up its head, which makes no show of
courage, which gives no promise of credibility by having a fully
descriptive title and the requisite indication of the author's name.
But I prefer to join issue on all points, nor am I leaving unmen-
tioned anything that can be taken as being in my favour. For out
of those authors whom we possess, Marcion is seen to have chosen
Luke as the one to mutilate.2 Now Luke was not an apostle
but an apostolic man, not a master but a disciple, in any case less
than his master, and assuredly even more of lesser account as
being the follower of a later apostle, Paul, to be sure: so that even
if Marcion had introduced his gospel under the name of Paul in
person, that one single document would not be adequate for our
faith, if destitute of the support of his predecessors. For we should
demand the production of that gospel also which Paul found <in
existence>, that to which he gave his assent, that with which
shortly afterwards he was anxious that his own should agree: for
his intention in going up to Jerusalem to know and to consult the
apostles, was lest perchance he had run in vain a—that is, lest
perchance he had not believed as they did, or were not preaching
the gospel in their manner. At length, when he had conferred
with the original <apostles>, and there was agreement concerning
the rule of the faith, they joined the right hands <of fellowship>,
and from thenceforth divided their spheres of preaching, so that
the others should go to the Jews, but Paul to Jews and gentiles.

2. 1 No author's name: so Adamantius i. 5.
2 For Marcion's treatment of Luke see Appendix 2.


IV.3 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 265

If he therefore who gave the light to Luke chose to have his pre-
decessors' authority for his faith as well as his preaching, much
more must I require for Luke's gospel the authority which was
necessary for the gospel of his master.

3. It is another matter if in Marcion's opinion the Christian
religion, with its sacred content, begins with the discipleship of
Luke. However, as it was on its course even before that, it cer-
tainly possessed an authoritative structure by means of which it
reached even to Luke: and so with the support of its evidence
Luke also can find acceptance. But Marcion has got hold of Paul's
epistle to the Galatians, in which he rebukes even the apostles
themselves for not walking uprightly according to the truth of the
gospel,a and accuses also certain false apostles of perverting the
gospel of Christ: and on this ground Marcion strives hard to
overthrow the credit of those gospels which are the apostles' own
and are published under their names, or even the names of aposto-
lic men, with the intention no doubt of conferring on his own
gospel the repute which he takes away from those others. And
yet, even if there is censure of Peter and John and James, who
were esteemed as pillars,b the reason is evident. It was that they
appeared to be altering their manner of life through respect of
persons. Yet since Paul himself made himself all things to all men
so that he might gain them all,c Peter too may well have had this
in mind in acting in some respect differently from his manner of
teaching. And besides, if false apostles also had crept in, their
character too is indicated: they were insisting on circumcision,
and the Jewish calendar. So it was not for their preaching but for
their forms of activity that they were marked down as wrong by
Paul, though he would no less have marked them wrong if they
had been in any error on the subject of God the Creator, or of
his Christ. Therefore we have to distinguish between the two cases.
If Marcion's complaint is that the apostles are held suspect of
dissimulation or pretence, even to the debasing of the gospel, he
is now accusing Christ, by thus accusing those whom Christ has
chosen. If however the gospel which the apostles compared with
Paul's was beyond reproach, and they were rebuked only for


IV.4 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 267

inconsistency of conduct, and yet false apostles have falsified the
truth of their gospels, and from them our copies are derived, what
can have become of that genuine apostles' document which has
suffered from adulterators—that document which gave light to
Paul, and from him to Luke? Or if it has been completely de-
stroyed, so wiped out by a flood of falsifiers as though by some
deluge, then not even Marcion has a true one. Or if that is to be
the true one, if that is the apostles', which Marcion alone possesses,
then how is it that that which is not of the apostles, but is ascribed
to Luke, is in agreement with ours? Or if that which Marcion
has in use is not at once to be attributed to Luke because it does
agree with ours—though they allege ours is falsified in respect of
its title—then it does belong to the apostles. And in that case
ours too, which is in agreement with that other, no less belongs
to the apostles, even if it too is falsified in its title.

4. So we must pull away at the rope of contention, swaying with
equal effort to the one side or the other. I say that mine is true:
Marcion makes that claim for his. I say that Marcion's is falsi-
fied: Marcion says the same of mine. Who shall decide between
us? Only such a reckoning of dates, as will assume that authority
belongs to that which is found to be older, and will prejudge as
corrupt that which is convicted of having come later. For in so
far as the false is a corruption of the true, to that extent must the
truth have preceded that which is false. An object must have been
in existence before anything is done to it, as what it is in itself
must be prior to any opposition to it. Otherwise how preposterous
it would be that when we have proved ours the older, and that
Marcion's has emerged later, ours should be taken to have been
false before it had from the truth material <for falsehood to work
on>, and Marcion's be believed to have suffered hostility from
ours before it was even published: and in the end <how ridiculous>
that that which is later should be reckoned more true, even after
the publication to the world of all those great works and evidences
of the Christian religion which surely could never have been pro-
duced except for the truth of the gospel—even before the gospel
was true. So then meanwhile, as concerns the gospel of Luke,
seeing that the use of it shared between us and Marcion becomes
an arbiter of the truth, our version of it is to such an extent older
than Marcion that Marcion himself once believed it. That was


IV.5 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 269

when in the first warmth of faith he presented the catholic church
with that money which was before long cast out along with him
after he had diverged from our truth into his own heresy. What
now, if the Marcionites are going to deny that his faith at first
was with us—even against the evidence of his own letter? What
if they refuse to acknowledge that letter? Certainly Marcion's
own Antitheses not only admit this, but even make a show of it.
Proof taken from them is good enough for me. If that gospel
which among us is ascribed to Luke—we shall see <later> whether
it is <accepted by> Marcion—if that is the same that Marcion by
his Antitheses accuses of having been falsified by the upholders of
Judaism with a view to its being so combined in one body with
the law and the prophets that they might also pretend that Christ
had that origin, evidently he could only have brought accusation
against something he had found there already. No one passes
censure on things afterwards to be, when he does not know they
are afterwards to be. Correction does not come before fault. As
corrector apparently of a gospel which from the times of Tiberius
to those of Antoninus had suffered subversion, Marcion comes to
light, first and alone, after Christ had waited for him all that time,
repenting of having been in a hurry to send forth apostles without
Marcion to protect them. And yet heresy, which is always in this
manner correcting the gospels, and so corrupting them, is the
effect of human temerity, not of divine authority: for even if
Marcion were a disciple, he is not above his master: and if Mar-
cion were an apostle, Whether it were I, says Paul, or they, so we
preach:a
and if Marcion were a prophet, even the spirits of the
prophets have to be subject to the prophets,b for they are not
<prophets> of subversion but of peace: even if Marcion were an
angel, he is more likely to be called anathema than gospel-maker,
seeing he has preached a different gospel.c And so, by making
these corrections, he assures us of two things—that ours came
first, for he is correcting what he has found there already, and
that that other came later which he has put together out of his
corrections of ours, and so made into a new thing of his own.

5. To sum up: if it is agreed that that has the greater claim to
truth which has the earlier priority, and that has the priority


IV.5 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 271

which has been so since the beginning, and that has been since
the beginning which was from the apostles, there will be no less
agreement that that was handed down by the apostles which is
held sacred and inviolate in the churches the apostles founded.
Let us consider what milk it was that Paul gave the Corinthians
to drink,a by the line of what rule the Galatians were again made
to walk straight,b what the Philippians, the Thessalonians, and
the Ephesians are given to read, what words are spoken also by
our near neighbours the Romans, to whom Peter and Paul left
as legacy the gospel, sealed moreover with their own blood. We
have also churches which are nurselings of John's: for although
Marcion disallows his Apocalypse, yet the succession of their
bishops, when traced back to its origin, will be found to rest in
John as originator. In the same way also the legitimacy of the
other churches is to be tested. So I affirm that among them—
and I am not now speaking only of apostolic churches, but of all
those which are in alliance with them in the fellowship of the
mysteryc—that gospel of Luke which we at this moment retain
has stood firm since its earliest publication, whereas Marcion's
is to most people not even known, and by those to whom it is
known is also by the same reason condemned. Admittedly that
gospel too has its churches; but they are its own, of late arrival
and spurious: if you search out their ancestry you are more likely
to find it apostatic than apostolic, having for founder either Mar-
cion or someone from Marcion's hive. Even wasps make combs,
and Marcionites make churches. That same authority of the
apostolic churches will stand as witness also for the other gospels,
which no less <than Luke's> we possess by their agency and accord-
ing to their text—I mean John's and Matthew's, though that
which Mark produced is stated to be Peter's, whose interpreter
Mark was. Luke's narrative also they usually attribute to Paul.
It is permissible for the works which disciples published to be
regarded as belonging to their masters. And so concerning these
also Marcion must be called to account, how it is that he has
passed them over, and preferred to take his stand upon Luke's, as
though these too, no less than Luke's, have not been in the churches
since the beginning—indeed it is to be supposed that they have
even greater claim to have been since the beginning, since they
were earlier, as written by apostles, and established along with


IV.5 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 273

the churches. Otherwise, if the apostles published nothing, how
can it have come about that their disciples published things in-
stead, when they could not even have existed as disciples apart
from some instruction by their masters? So then, since it is evi-
dent that these too existed in the churches, how is it that Marcion
has not laid hands on them as well, either to correct if falsified, or
to acknowledge if correct? For it is conceivable that any who were
engaged in corrupting one gospel might have taken even greater
interest in the corruption of gospels whose authenticity they knew
had wider acceptance—false apostles for this very reason, that
it was apostles they would be counterfeiting by this forgery. The
more then Marcion might have corrected things which would
have needed correction if they had been corrupt, the more he
has in fact certified that those have not been corrupted which he
has not thought it necessary to correct. So he did correct the
one he thought was corrupt. Yet even this he had no right to
correct: because it was not corrupt. For if the apostolic gospels
have come down to us in their integrity, while the gospel of Luke,
in the form in which we have it, is in such agreement with the
standard of those others that it is retained in the churches along
with them, it is at once evident that Luke's also came down in
integrity until Marcion's act of sacrilege. In fact it was only when
Marcion laid hands upon it, that it became different from the
apostolic gospels, and in opposition to them. So I should recom-
mend his disciples either to convert those others, late though it
be, into the shape of their own, so that they may have the appear-
ance of being in agreement with apostolic gospels—for they are
every day reshaping this of theirs, as they are every day brought
to account by us—or else to take shame of their master, who
stands convicted on both accounts, while at one time he bypasses
the truth of the gospel through bad conscience, and at another
time overturns it through effrontery. These are the sort of sum-
mary arguments I use when skirmishing light-armed against
heretics on behalf of the faith of the gospel, arguments which
claim the support of that succession of times which pleads the
previous question against the late emergence of falsifiers, as well
as that authority of the churches which gives expert witness to
the tradition of the apostles: because the truth must of necessity
precede the false, and proceed from those from whom its tradition
began.


IV.7 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 275

6. I now advance a step further, while I call to account, as I
have promised, Marcion's gospel in his own version of it, with
the design, even so, of proving it adulterated. Certainly the whole
of the work he has done, including the prefixing of his Antitheses,
he directs to the one purpose of setting up opposition between
the Old Testament and the New, and thereby putting his Christ
in separation from the Creator, as belonging to another god, and
having no connection with the law and the prophets. Certainly
that is why he has expunged all the things that oppose his view,
that are in accord with the Creator, on the plea that they have
been woven in by his partisans; but has retained those that
accord with his opinion. These it is we shall call to account, with
these we shall grapple, to see if they will favour my case, not his,
to see if they will put a check on Marcion's pretensions. Then
it will become clear that these things have been expunged by the
same disease of heretical blindness by which the others have been
retained. Such will be the purpose and plan of my treatise, on
those precise terms which have been agreed by both parties. Mar-
cion lays it down that there is one Christ who in the time of
Tiberius was revealed by a god formerly unknown, for the salva-
tion of all the nations; and another Christ who is destined by
God the Creator to come at some time still future for the re--
establishment of the Jewish kingdom. Between these he sets up
a great and absolute opposition, such as that between justice and
kindness, between law and gospel, between Judaism and Chris-
tianity. From this will also derive my statement of claim, by
which I lay it down that the Christ of a different god has no right
to have anything in common with the Creator; and again, that
Christ must be adjudged to be the Creator's if he is found to
have administered the Creator's ordinances, fulfilled his pro-
phecies, supported his laws, given actuality to his promises, re-
vived his miracles, given new expression to his judgements, and
reproduced the lineaments of his character and attributes. I
request you, my reader, always to bear in mind this undertaking,
this statement of my case, and begin to be aware that Christ
belongs either to Marcion or the Creator, <but not to both>.

7. [Luke 4: 31-7.] Marcion premises that in the fifteenth year of
the principate of Tiberius he came down into Capernaum, a city
of Galilee—from the Creator's heaven, of course, into which he


IV.7 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 277

had first come down out of his own.1 Did not then due order de-
mand that it should first be explained how he came down from
his own heaven into the Creator's? For why should I not pass
censure on such matters as do not satisfy the claims of orderly
narrative, <but let it> always tail off in falsehood? So let us ask
once for all a question I have already discussed elsewhere,2
whether, while coming down through the Creator's territory and
in opposition to him, he could have expected the Creator to let
him in, and allow him to pass on from thence into the earth, which
no less is the Creator's. Next however, admitting that he came
down, I demand to know the rest of the order of that descent. It is
no matter if somewhere the word 'appeared' is used. 'Appear' sug-
gests a sudden and unexpected sight, <by one> who at some instant
has cast his eyes on a thing which has at that instant appeared.
To have come down, however—when that takes place the fact
is in view and comes beneath the eye: it also puts the event into
sequence, and enforces the inquiry in what sort of aspect, in what
sort of array, with how much speed or moderation, as also at
what time of day, or of night, he came down: and besides that,
who saw him coming down, who reported it, and who gave
assurance of a fact not easily credible even to him who gives as-
surance. It is quite wrong in fact, that Romulus should have had
Proculus to vouch for his ascent into heaven,3 yet that Christ
should not have provided himself with a reporter of his god's
descent from heaven—though that one must have gone up by
the same ladder of lies by which this one came down. Also what
had he to do with Galilee, if he was not the Creator's Christ, for
whom that province was predestined <as the place> for him to
enter on his preaching? For Isaiah says: Drink this first, do it
quickly, province of Zebulon and land of Naphtali, and ye others who
<dwell between> the sea-coast and Jordan, Galilee of the gentiles, ye
people who sit in darkness, behold a great light: ye who inhabit the land,
sitting in the shadow of death, a light has arisen upon you.a
It is indeed
to the good that Marcion's god too should be cited as one who
gives light to the gentiles, for so there was the greater need for
him to come down from heaven—though, if so, he ought to have
come down into Pontus rather than Galilee. Yet since both that

7. 1 Rejection of the infancy narrative, above, I. 19; Irenaeus, AM. I. xxv. i;
Adamantius i. 3. 2 I. 23 above.
3 Romulus: Livy I. 16.


IV.7 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 279

locality and that function of enlightenment do according to the
prophecy have their bearing upon Christ, we at once begin to
discern that it was he of whom the prophecy was made, when he
makes it clear on his first appearance that he is come not to
destroy the law and the prophets, but rather to fulfil them.b For
Marcion has blotted this out as an interpolation. But in vain will
he deny that Christ said in words a thing which he at once partly
accomplished in act. For in the meanwhile he fulfilled the pro-
phecy in respect of place. From heaven straightway into the
synagogue. As the saying goes, let us get down to it: to your task,
Marcion: remove even this from the gospel, I am not sent but
to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,
and, It is not <meet> to take away
the children's bread and give it to dogs:c
for this gives the impression
that Christ belongs to Israel. I have plenty of acts, if you take
away his words. Take away Christ's sayings, and the facts will
speak; See how he enters into the synagogue: surely to the lost
sheep of the house of Israel. See how he offers the bread of his
doctrine to the Israelites first: surely he is giving them preference
as sons. See how as yet he gives others no share of it: surely he is
passing them by, like dogs. Yet on whom would he have been
more ready to bestow it than on strangers to the Creator, if he
himself had not above all else belonged to the Creator? Yet again
how can he have obtained admittance into the synagogue, appear-
ing so suddenly, so unknown, no one as yet having certain know-
ledge of his tribe, of his nation, of his house, or even of Caesar's
census, which the Roman registry still has in keeping,4 a most
faithful witness to our Lord's nativity? They remembered, surely,
that unless they knew he was circumcised he must not be ad-
mitted into the most holy places. Or again, even if there were un-
limited access to the synagogue, there was no permission to teach,
except for one excellently well known, and tried, and approved,
and already either for this occasion or by commendation from
elsewhere invested with that function. 'But they were all astonished
at his doctrine.' Quite so. Because, it says, his word was with power,
not because his teaching was directed against the law and the
prophets. For in fact his divine manner of speaking did afford
both power and grace, building up, much more than pulling

7. 4 The census records are referred to again Ch. 19. 10. There seems to be no
non-Christian evidence that they were preserved in Rome or would be available
to inquirers.


IV.7 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 281

down, the substance of the law and the prophets. Otherwise they
would not have been astonished but horrified; would not have
marvelled at, but immediately shrunk from, a destroyer of the
law and the prophets—and above all else the preacher of a
different god, because he could not have given teaching contrary
to the law and the prophets, and, by that token, contrary to the
Creator, without some previous profession of belief in an alien
and hostile deity. As then the scripture gives no indication of
this kind, but only that the power and authority of his speech were
a matter of wonder, it more readily indicates that his teaching
was in accordance with the Creator, since it does not deny that,
than that it was opposed to the Creator, since it has not said so.
It follows that he must either be acknowledged to belong to him
in accordance with whom his teaching was given, or else judged
a turn-coat if his teaching was in accordance with him whom he
had come to oppose. On the same occasion the spirit of the demon
cries out, What have we to do with thee, Jesus? Thou art come to destroy
us. I know who thou art, the Holy One of God.
Here I shall not discuss
whether even this appellation was at all appropriate to one who
had no right even to the name of Christ unless he belonged to
the Creator. I have fully discussed his titles in another place.5 At
present I require to know how the demon knew that he had this
name, when no prediction referring to him had ever been made
in the past by a god unknown and until that time dumb, a god
as whose holy one he had no means of invoking him, a god un-
known even to the demon's Creator. <I ask also> what sort of
indication he now gave of a new divinity, that by it he could be
taken for the holy one of a different god. Merely that he had gone
inside the synagogue and not even in word had taken any sort
of action against the Creator? As then he had no means of recog-
nizing that one whom he had no knowledge of was Jesus and the
Holy One of God, it follows that this recognition was of one whom
he did know: for he remembered <two things>, that the prophet
had prophesied of the Holy One of God, and that Jesus was God's
name in the son of Nun. He had had these names given by an
angel, our gospel relates: Therefore that which shall be born in thee
shall be called holy, the Son of God:d
and, Thou shalt call his name Jesus.e
Also, though he was only a demon, he had in fact some sense of
the Lord's purpose, more than if it had been a stranger's and not

7. 5 The names, or titles: Emmanuel, III. 12; Christ, III. 15; Jesus, III. 16.


IV.8 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 283

yet well enough known. For he began by asking, What have we
to do with thee, Jesus?,
not as though addressing a stranger, but
as one whose concern the Creator's spirits are. For his words were
not, What hast thou to do with us?, but, What have we to do with
thee?,
in sorrow for himself and in regret at his own case: and as
he now sees what this is he adds, Thou art come to destroy us. To that
extent he had recognized Jesus as the Son of the judge, the aven-
ger, and <if I may say so> the severe God, not of that perfectly
good god who knows nothing of destruction and punishment.
With what purpose have I begun with this episode? To show you
that Jesus was acknowledged by the demon, and affirmed by
himself, to belong to none other than the Creator. But still, you
object, Jesus rebuked him. Of course he did: he was an embarrass-
ment: even in that acknowledgement he was impertinent, and
submissive in the wrong way, giving the impression that it would
be the sum total of Christ's glory to have come for the destruction
of demons and not rather for the salvation of men: for it was he
who would have his disciples rejoice not because the spirits were
subject to them but because of their election to salvation.f Else
why did he rebuke him? If because he was wholly a liar, then he
himself was neither Jesus nor in any sense holy: if because he was
partly a liar, in having rightly thought him to be Jesus and the
Holy One of God, but to belong to the Creator, it was most un-
just of him to rebuke one who took the view which he knew he
must take, and did not entertain the idea which he did not know
he needed to entertain, that he was a different Jesus, and the
holy one of a different god. But if his rebuke has no more likely
ground than the interpretation we put upon it, in that case the
demon told no lie, and was not rebuked for lying: for Jesus was
Jesus himself, and the demon had no means of affording recogni-
tion to any besides him: and Jesus gave assurance of being that
one whom the devil had recognized, seeing that his rebuke to
the demon was not on account of a lie.

8. [Luke 4: 16-43.] According to the prophecy, the Creator's
Christ was to be called a Nazarene.a For that reason, and on his
account, the Jews call us by that very name, Nazarenes. For we
are also those of whom it is written, The Nazarenes were made
whiter than snow,b
having previously of course been darkened with
the stains of sin, and blackened with the darkness of ignorance. But


IV.8 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 285

to Christ the appellation of Nazarene was to apply because of his
hiding-place in infancy, for which he went down to Nazareth, to
escape from Archelaus, the son of Herod.c My reason for not
leaving this out is that Marcion's Christ ought by rights to have
forsworn all association even with the places frequented by the
Creator's Christ, since he had all those towns of Judaea, which
were not in the same way conveyed over to the Creator's Christ
by the prophets. But Christ has to be the Christ of the prophets,
wherever it is that he is found to accord with the prophets. Even
at Nazareth there is no indication that his preaching was of any-
thing new, though for all that, by reason of one single proverb,
we are told that he was cast out. Here, as I for the first time ob-
serve that hands were laid upon him, I am called upon to say
something definite about his corporal substance; that he who
admitted of contact, contact even full of violence, in being seized
and captured and dragged even to the brow of the hill, cannot
be thought of as a phantasm. It is true that he slipped away
through the midst of them, but this was when he had experienced
their violence, and had afterwards been let go: for, as often
happens, the crowd gave way, or was even broken up: there is
no question of its being deceived by invisibility, for this, if it had
been such, would never have submitted to contact at all.

Touch or be touched nothing but body may,

is a worthy sentence even of this world's philosophy.d In fine, he
did himself before long touch others, and by laying his hands
upon them—hands evidently meant to be felt—conveyed the
benefits of healing, benefits no less true, no less free from pretence,
than the hands by which they were conveyed. Consequently he
is the Christ of Isaiah, a healer of sicknesses: He himself, he says,
takes away our weaknesses and carries our sicknesses.e For the Greeks
are accustomed to write 'carry' as equivalent to 'take away'. That
promise in general terms is enough for me at present. Whatever
it was that Jesus healed, he is mine. We shall however come to
specific instances of healing. Moreover even to deliver from
demons is a healing of sickness. And so the wicked spirits, as if
following the precedent of the previous instance, bore witness to
him as they went out, by crying aloud, Thou art the Son of God.
Which God, let it even here be evident. 'But they were rebuked,
and ordered to be silent.' Quite so: because Christ wished himself


IV.8 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 287

to be acknowledged as the Son of God by men, not by unclean
spirits—that Christ at all events who had the right to expect this,
because he had sent before him those preachers, worthier preachers
beyond question, through whose agency recognition might be
possible. To reject the commendation of an unclean spirit was
within the rights of him who had at his disposal abundant com-
mendations of the Holy Spirit. One however of whom there had
been no announcement—if of course he wished to be recognized,
for his coming was to no purpose if he did not—would not have
rejected the testimony of an alien substance of any sort whatever,
if he had no testimony of any substance of his own, and had come
down on to another's property. One thing more: as a destroyer
of the Creator his greatest desire would have been to be recognized
by the Creator's spirits and have them spread his name abroad,
through the fear they had of him: except that Marcion says that
his god is not an object of fear, claiming that the object of fear is
not the kind god but the judge, with whom are to be found the
materials of fear, which are wrath, severity, judgements, ven-
geance, and condemnation. But the demons did in fact submit
through fear. So then their confession was that he was the Son
of the God who is to be feared: for if there had been no fear in-
volved, they could have taken this as an occasion when submission
might be refused. But in driving them out by command and re-
buke, not by persuasion as a kind one would have done, he dis-
closed himself as one to be feared. Or perhaps he rebuked them
just because they were afraid of him, being unwilling to be an
object of fear? Yet how did he expect them to come out—a thing
they would not have done except from fear? So then he fell under
the necessity of having to conduct himself contrary to his own
nature, though he might, as being kind, have pardoned them
once for all. He fell also under another bad mark, that of changing
sides, when he allowed himself to be feared by the demons as the
son of the Creator, so as now to drive the demons out not by any
power of his own but by the Creator's authority. He goes forth
into a desert place. This kind of country the Creator often made
use of. It was right and proper that the Word should also be
visible in a body in the place where of old time he had been active
also in a cloud. The gospel was well suited by that type of place
which had been found satisfactory for the law. So let the wilder-
ness rejoice—for so Isaiah had promised.f When the multitudes


IV.9 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 289

detained him he said, I must proclaim the kingdom of God to other cities
also.
Had he anywhere yet shown who this god of his was? Not
even yet, I think. But was he speaking of people who knew there
was another god besides? This too I do not believe. So then, if
neither he himself had said anything about another god, nor did
they know of any god besides the Creator, the kingdom he looked
forward to was the kingdom of precisely that God whom he knew
to be the only God known to those who heard him.

9. [Luke 5: 1-15.] Out of all possible lands of occupations why
had he such respect for that of fisherman that from it he took for
apostles Simon and the sons of Zebedee—a fact from which an
argument was to be drawn cannot be regarded as without signifi-
cance—when he said to Peter, amazed because of the abundant
draught of fishes, Fear not, for from henceforth thou shall catch men?
By this remark he suggested how they were to understand the pro-
phecy was fulfilled, and that he it was who had declared, through
Jeremiah, Behold I will send many fishers, and they shall fish them,a
meaning men. Thereupon they left their boats and followed him,
with understanding of one who had begun to do in fact what he
had said in words. It is quite another thing if he made a pretence
of choosing them from the Association of Shipmasters, because
he was sometime going to have as his apostle Marcion the navi-
gator. Now I have already postulated, in opposition to the Anti-
theses,
that Marcion's purpose is in no sense served by what he
supposes to be an opposition between the law and the gospel,
because this too was ordained by the Creator, and in fact was
foretold by that promise of a new law and a new word and a
new testament. But seeing that he argues with unusual insistence
in the presence of one whom he calls a kind of suntalai/pwroj,
companion in misery, and summisou&menoj, companion in hatred,1
regarding the cleansing of the leper, I shall not think it amiss to
meet him, and first to show him the force of that figurative law:
for by the example of the leprous person who must not be touched
but must even be excluded from all communication with others,
it forbade association with any man defiled by sins—with whom
the apostle too says we must not even eat:b for the stains of sins are
passed from one to another, as by contagion, if anyone makes
contact with a sinner. And so our Lord, who desired to suggest

9. 1 Tertullian's Latin words seem to be a burlesque on the Greek words of
self-depreciation applied to himself by Marcion.


IV.9 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 259

deeper understanding of that law which indicates spiritual things
by means of things carnal, and on that account was not pulling
down but rather building up that law which he wished men to
acknowledge as a matter of closer concern, touched the leper:
for although a man could have suffered defilement from such a
one, God could certainly not be defiled, being immune from
contamination. Thus there can be no injunction laid upon him
that he ought to have observed the law and not have touched the
unclean person, since contact with the unclean was not going to
defile him. That this is more in keeping with my Christ I show
you by this, that I prove it is not in keeping with yours. For if it
was in hostility to the law that he touched the leper, making the
commandment of the law of no account through contempt of
defilement—how could he possibly suffer defilement who possessed
no body which might be defiled? For a phantasm cannot suffer
defilement. He therefore who was incapable of defilement be-
cause he was a phantasm, will be found to be immune from con-
tamination not through divine power but by the phantasm's
inanity. Nor can he be supposed to have held in contempt that
defilement which he had no ground for: nor for that matter to
have destroyed the law, since he had escaped defilement through
the good fortune of the phantasm and not by any display of
power. But even though Elisha, the Creator's prophet, cleansed
no more than one leper, Naaman the Syrian, when there were all
those many lepers in Israel, even this does not indicate that Christ
was in some sense different, as though he were in this respect
superior, that being a stranger he cleansed an Israelite leper,
whom his own Lord had not had power to cleanse: because the
Syrian was more easily cleansed as a sign throughout the gentiles
of their cleansing in Christ the light of the gentiles, who were
marked with those seven stains of capital sins, idolatry, blasphemy,
homicide, adultery, fornication, false witness, fraud. Therefore
seven times over, as though once under each heading, did he
wash in Jordan, both with intent to prophesy the purging of the
whole seven, and because the force and fullness of one single
washing was reserved for Christ alone, who was to make upon
earth not only a determined wordc but also a determined washing.
Even in this Marcion sees an 'opposition', that whereas Elisha
needed a material help, and made use of water, seven times at
that, Christ by the act of his word alone, without repeating it,


IV.9 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 293

immediately put the healing into effect—as though I were not
bold enough to claim even the word he used, as part of the
Creator's property. In any and every object the primary author
has the better claim to it. You regard it perhaps as incredible that
the Creator's power should with a word have performed the heal-
ing of one single sickness, though that power did with a word
produce at an instant this great fabric of the universe. How better
may one discern the Christ of the Creator than by the power of
his word? But perhaps he is another's Christ, because his action
is other than Elisha's, because any master is more powerful than
his own servant. By what right, Marcion, do you rule that servants'
activities are exactly like their masters' ? Are you not afraid of it
turning to your discredit if you claim that Christ is not the
Creator's, on the ground that he had greater powers than the
Creator's servant, when it is evident that he is greater by com-
parison with Elisha's littleness—if indeed he is greater? For the
healing is the same, though the method of working is different.
Has your Christ provided a greater gift than my Elisha gave?
What indeed was that great effect of your Christ's word, which
did just the same as the Creator's river had done?2 The rest of
what he does follows the same course. As far as concerned avoid-
ance of human glory, he told him to tell no man: as concerned
the observance of the law, he ordered the proper course to be
followed: Go, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses
commanded.
Knowing that the law was in the form of prophecy,
he was safeguarding its figurative regulations even in his own
mirrored images of them, which indicated that a man who has
been a sinner, as soon as he is cleansed by the word of God, is
bound to offer in the temple a sacrifice to God, which means
prayer and giving of thanks in the church through Christ Jesus,
the universal high priest of the Father. This is why he added,
That it may be to you for a testimony—no doubt by which he testi-
fied that he did not destroy the law but fulfilled it, a testimony that
it was he and no other of whom it was foretold that he would take
upon him their diseases and sicknesses. This entirely adequate and
necessary interpretation of that testimony Marcion, in subser-
vience to his own Christ, seeks to discount under the pretence of

9. 2 Tertullian's affectation of having surrendered to his opponents the Christ
of their mutilated gospel here causes him to forget that he is really discussing
the acts of the true Christ recorded in the authentic gospel.


IV.9 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 295

consideration and gentleness. For, says he, being kind, and know-
ing besides that every man set free from leprosy would follow out
the observances of the law, he for that reason ordered him to
do so. What after that? Did he continue in kindness, that is, in
permission to observe the law, or did he not? If he continued
being kind, he can never become a destroyer of the law, nor can
he be taken to belong to that other god, since there is a cessation
of that destruction of the law on account of which it is claimed he
belongs to the other god. If he did not continue being kind, sub-
sequently destroying the law, then it was false witness that he
afterwards lodged with them at the healing of the leper: for he
became a renegade from goodness, in that he destroyed the law.
So he is now evil, as a subverter of the law, if he was kind while
allowing the law to be kept. Yet even by his act in once allowing
obedience to the law, he gave assurance that the law is good. For
no man gives permission for obedience to an evil thing. It follows
that in the one case he was bad, if he allowed obedience to a law
which was bad, and in the other case worse, if he came as the
destroyer of a law that was good. Moreover, if his command to
offer the gift was contingent on his knowledge that every man
freed from leprosy would make that offering, it was also in his
power to have issued no command for an act which he knew
would take place without it. Also in vain has he come down as with
intent to destroy the law, when he makes concessions to keepers
of the law. What is more, since he was aware of the habits of those
people, he ought to have taken precautionary action to turn them
away from it, if that was the reason for his coming. Why then
did he not keep silence, and let the man obey the law without
prompting? In that case he could be thought to have made some
concession to his tolerance. Instead of which he adds even his
own authority, strengthened by the weight of that testimony—
testimony of what, unless of enforcing the law? Truly it makes no
difference in what way he confirmed the law, whether as kind, or as
disinterested, or as tolerant, or as inconstant, provided, Marcion,
that I drive you from your position. So then he has commanded
the law to be fulfilled: in whatever sense he gave this command,
he can in the same sense have stated the principle, I am not come
to destroy the law but to fulfil it.d
What good then did it do you to
excise from the gospel a sentence which remains there still? You
have admitted that he did for kindness' sake something which you


IV.10 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 297

deny that he said. So there is proof that he said it, because he
did do it, and that it is you that have excised the Lord's words
from the gospel, and not our people that have foisted them in.

10. [Luke 5: 18-26.] Also a palsied man is healed, and that amidst
a throng, with the people looking on. For, says Isaiah, the people
shall see the excellency of the Lord, and the glory of God. What excel-
lency, and what glory? Be strengthened, ye weak hands, and ye en-
feebled knees—
which indicates paralysis. Be strengthened, fear not.a
Not without purpose does he twice say Be strengthened, nor to no
effect does he add Fear not, because along with renewal of limbs
he was promising also a restoration of strength: Arise and take up
thy bed:
as well as firmness of mind, so as not to be afraid of those
who would ask, Who shall forgive sins but God alone? Here then you
find fulfilled the prophecy of a particular form of healing, as well
as of matters consequent upon the healing. In the same prophet
likewise you may recognize Christ as one who forgives sins: Be-
cause,
he says, among very many he shall forgive their sins, and, He
himself taketh away our sins.b
For <you will find it> also earlier on,
our Lord in person speaking: Though your sins be as scarlet, I will
make them white as snow: though they be as crimson, I will make them
white as wool,c
indicating by scarlet the blood of the prophets, and
by crimson the blood of our Lord, as more noble. Also Micah,
concerning forgiveness of sins, Who is a God like unto thee, who takest
away iniquities and passest over injustices for the residue of thine inheri-
tance? And he retained not his wrath for a testimony, because he desired
there should be mercy. He will turn back, he will have mercy upon us: he will
overwhelm our iniquities, and overwhelm our sins in the depth of the sea.d
Yet even though nothing of this sort had been foretold in respect
of Christ, I should have in the Creator instances of this kindness,
such as promise me in the Son too the affections of the Father.
I see the men of Nineveh obtaining from the Creator the forgive-
ness of their crimes—or I should rather say 'from Christ', because
even from the beginning he has acted in the Father's name. I
read also that when David confessed his sin against Uriah,
Nathan the prophet said, Also the Lord hath cancelled out thy sin
and thou shall not die:e
also that king Ahab, the husband of Jezebel,
guilty of idolatry and of the blood of Naboth, earned pardon on
account of repentance:f and that Jonathan the son of Saul wiped
out by deprecation the guilt of a broken fast.g Why need I tell


IV.10 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 299

of the nation itself so often restored by forgiveness of sins—by that
God who would rather have mercy than sacrifice, and a sinner's
repentance rather than his death?h First then you have to deny
that the Creator ever forgave sins, and secondly you have to prove
that he never prophesied anything of that kind regarding his
Christ: only so will you prove the newness of the kindness of your
new Christ, if you succeed in proving that it is neither character-
istic of the Creator nor prophesied of by the Creator. But whether
the forgiving of sins can be in character with one who is said not
to notice them, or whether one can absolve who cannot if neces-
sary condemn, or whether there is any consistency in pardon being
granted by one against whom no offence has been committed,
this I have already discussed, and prefer now to draw attention
to that, and not to discuss it again. On the expression Son of man
my postulates are two: first that Christ was incapable of lying,
so as to declare himself the Son of man if he was not really so:
and that no one can be accepted as Son of man who is not of
human birth, either on the father's side or the mother's: and this
will call for discussion, on what side his human birth must be
taken to be, the father's or the mother's. Now if he is from God
as father, certainly his father is not a man: if his father is not a
man, the only thing left is for him to be of a human mother: and
if of a human <mother> it is already evident that she is a virgin.
For as there is ascribed to him no human father, neither can his
mother be reckoned to have a husband: and <this mother> to
whom no husband is reckoned, is a virgin. Otherwise there will
be two fathers involved, God and a man, if his mother is not a
virgin. For she has to have a husband, if she is not to be a virgin,
and by having a husband she will cause him who was to be the
Son of God and of man to have two fathers, God and a man.
That perhaps is the sort of nativity the old tales ascribe to Castor
and Hercules. But if the distinctions are made in this form, that is,
if on his mother's side he is the Son of man because he is not the
Son of man on his father's side, and if his mother is a virgin
because he has no man for his father, this must be Isaiah's Christ
whom he prophesies that a virgin will conceive. By what reason-
ing then, Marcion, you accept Son of man <into the text of your
gospel> I am unable to understand. If <you mean> son of a human
father, you deny that he is the Son of God: if <you mean> son of
God as well, you are making Christ into Hercules out of the old


IV.10 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 301

story: if only his mother was human, you admit that he is mine:
if neither father nor mother was human, then he is not the son
of man at all, and we must conclude that he told a lie when he
called himself something that he was not. One thing alone can
get you out of these straits—if you are bold enough either to give
your god, the father of Christ, the name of Man, which is what
Valentinus did with the aeon,1 or else to deny that the virgin is
human, which is a thing not even Valentinus has done. Next,
what if in Daniel Christ is dignified with this actual title, Son of
man ? i Is not this good enough proof that Christ is the subject of
prophecy? For when he calls himself by that title which was in
prophecy applied to the Christ of the Creator, without question
he offers himself for recognition as that one to whom the prophecy
applied. Joint possession of names, perhaps, can be regarded as
having no special significance—though even so I maintain that
persons possessed of opposite characteristics had no right to be
called either Christ or Jesus. But a title, such as 'Son of man',
arises from attendant circumstances, and to that extent it is not
easy for it to have any pertinence beyond the possession of the
same name. Arising from attendant circumstances, it is applicable
to one person alone, especially when there is no recurrence of
the same cause for which it could become a joint possession. So
then if Marcion's Christ too were reported to be of human birth,
in that case he also would be eligible for joint possession of the
title, and there would be two sons of man, as there would be two
named Christ and Jesus. Therefore since this title belongs to that
one alone to whom it has reason to apply, if it is also claimed for
another, one in whom there is joint possession of the name though
not of the title, the joint possession of the name too falls under
suspicion in the case of the one for whom without good reason
is claimed joint possession of the title. So it follows that we must
take it to be one and the same Person whom we believe more
capable of possessing both the name and the title, to the exclusion
of the other who, having no good reason for it, is not in joint
possession of the title. Nor can anyone be found more capable of
possessing both <name and title> than he who first came into pos-
session of the name of Christ and the title Son of man, namely

10. 1 In the Valentinian system Man (Anthropos), with his consort Church,
was not a man but a supercelestial personage, in the second tetrad of emanations
from the original Depth and Silence. He was thus far higher than the Creator,
who was entirely excluded from the fullness of the godhead. Cf. adv. Val. 8.


IV.10 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 303

the Creator's Jesus. He it was whom the Babylonian king saw
in the furnace, a fourth along with his martyrs, in form like a son
of man.2, j He was also revealed expressly to Daniel himself as
the Son of mank coming as judge with the clouds of heaven, as
scripture also shows him to be. I have affirmed that this could be
enough about the names the prophets give in reference to the
Son of man. But scripture provides me with still more, by our
Lord's own interpretation. When the Jews were taking account
only of his manhood, not yet aware that he was also God, as being
also God's Son, and were (as might be expected) arguing that
a man cannot forgive sins, but only God can, how is it that the
answer he gave them concerning man, that he has power to
forgive sins—when by using the expression 'Son of man' he im-
plied 'man' as well—was not in terms of their objection? Was it
not that it was his wish by this title Son of man from the book of
Daniel to turn their complaint back upon them in such form as
to prove that he who was forgiving sins was both God and Man—
that one and only Son of man in terms of Daniel's prophecy, who
had obtained power to judge, and by it of course the power to
forgive sins (for he who judges also acquits)—and so after that
cause of offence had been dispersed by his citation of scripture,
they might the more readily recognize from that very act of for-
giving sins that he and no other was the Son of man? Actually,
he had never before professed himself the Son of man, but on
this occasion first on which he first forgave sins—that is, on which
he first exercised judgement, by acquittal. On this subject take
note of what all the arguments amount to which our adversaries
allege. They cannot avoid arriving at such a pitch of madness
as to insist <that Christ is> the Son of man, so as not to make him
a liar, yet to deny that he is of human birth, to escape admitting
that he is the Virgin's son. But if both divine authority, and the
facts of nature, and common logic, do not admit of this hereti-
cal idiocy, we have even here occasion to insist, in the sharpest
possible terms, on the reality of <Christ's> body, in opposition to
Marcion's phantasms. If, being the Son of man, he is of human
birth, there is body derived from body. Evidently you could more
easily discover a man born without heart or brains, like Marcion,

10. 2 The Babylonian king said 'one like a son of a god'. Tertullian was think-
ing of Dan. 7: 13 and 10: 16; he makes the same mistake adv.Prax. 16. Below,
Ch. 21. 8, he explains tanquam.


IV.11 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 305

than without a body, like Marcion's Christ. Go and search then
for the heart, or the brains, of that man of Pontus.

11. [Luke 5: 27-39.] The publican chosen by our Lord for a
disciple is brought into the argument by Marcion with the sug-
gestion that because he was outside the law and regarded by the
Jews as unclean, he must have been chosen by one hostile to the
law. It has escaped his notice even concerning Peter, a man under
the law, who was for all that not only chosen but received com-
mendation for having knowledge granted him by the Father.a He
had nowhere, <it appears>, seen it written that Christ is pro-
claimed as the light and hope and expectation of the gentiles.
Yet <Christ> expressed approval of Jews more than others when
he said that the whole have no need of a physician, but those that
are sick: for if by those in ill health he meant them to understand
those heathen men and publicans of whom he was making his
choice, this was an assurance that those Jews who he said had
no need of a physician, were in good health. If that is so, his
coming down to destroy the law was ill-conceived, if his purpose
was the remedy of that ill-health, when those who were living in
the law were in good health, and had no need of a physician.
What can have been the use of his setting out the parable of the
physician and not acting on it? For just as no one brings a physi-
cian to people in health, neither does he bring one to people so
alien as man is from Marcion's god, when that man has his own
author and protector, and from him for preference that physician
who is Christ. This the parable predetermines, that the physician
is more likely to be provided by him to whom the sick persons
belong. From what direction does John make his appearance?
Christ unexpected: John also unexpected. With Marcion all
things are like that: with the Creator they have their own com-
pact order. The rest about John later, since it is best to answer
each separate point as it arises. At present I shall make it my
purpose to show both that John is in accord with Christ and
Christ in accord with John, the Creator's Christ with the Creator's
prophet, that so the heretic may be put to shame at having to no
advantage made John's work of no advantage. For if John's work
had been utterly without effect when, as Isaiah says, he cried
aloud in the wilderness as preparer of the ways of the Lord by
the demanding and commending of repentance, and if he had


IV.11 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 307

not along with the others baptized Christ himself, no one could
have challenged Christ's disciples for eating and drinking, or
referred them to the example of John's disciples who were assi-
dous in fasting and prayer: because if any opposition had stood
between Christ and John, and between the followers of each,
there could have been no demand for imitation, and the force
of the challenge would have been lost. For no one could think
it strange and no one be put to grief if the rival preachings of
hostile divinities were also discordant in their rules of conduct,
having begun by being discordant in the authorities imposing the
rules. Consequently Christ belonged to John and John to Christ,
and both to the Creator, both concerned with the law and the
prophets, as preachers and teachers. Otherwise Christ would have
repudiated John's rules, as pertaining to a different god, and
would have commended his disciples for quite rightly following
different practices, having been brought into the service of a
different divinity of opposite character. As things are, by sub-
missively offering the explanation that the sons of the bridegroom
could not fast so long as the bridegroom was with them, and by
promising that they would afterwards fast when the bridegroom
had been taken from them, he did not commend the disciples,
but rather found excuses for them, as though the rebuke was not
without cause, nor did he repudiate John's rule of conduct but
rather gave it approval: for the present he allowed it to John's
circumstances, for the future approving it for circumstances of
his own. Otherwise he would have repudiated it, and commended
its opponents, if the rule which then existed had not been a rule
of his own. I recognize my Christ also under that name of Bride-
groom, of whom the psalm speaks: He himself is as a bridegroom
coming forth out of his chamber: from the height of heaven is his going
forth, and his returning even unto the height of it.b
Also in Isaiah, re-
joicing in his father's presence, he says, Let my soul exult in the Lord,
for he hath clothed me with the garment of salvation and with the robe of
joyfulness, as for a bridegroom, and hath placed upon me a crown as for
a bride.c
He accounts the church as in himself, and concerning
it the same Spirit says to him: Thou shall clothe thee with them all,
as an ornament upon a bride.d
This bride Christ also summons to him-
self by the mouth of Solomon, if indeed you have found this
written, Come, my bride, from Lebanon,e pleasantly introducing the
mention of Lebanon, the mountain, which among the Greeks is


IV.11 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 309

the word for incense: for it was out of idolatry that he made the
church his bride. Now deny, if you can, your utter madness,
Marcion: you go so far as to assail the law of your own god. He
contracts no marriages, nor recognizes them when contracted,
refuses baptism except to the celibate or the eunuch, keeping it
back until death or divorce. How then can you call his Christ
a bridegroom? This title belongs to him who has joined together
male and female, not to one who has put them asunder. You
are in error also about that pronouncement of our Lord in which
he is seen to make a distinction between new things and old. You
are puffed up with old wineskins, and befuddled with new wine,
and consequently have sewn the patch of heretical newness upon
the old, which is the prior, gospel. In what respect, please tell
me, is the Creator other <than himself>? When he gave command
by Jeremiah, Renew for yourselves a new fallow,f did he not turn
them away from things old? When by Isaiah he declares, The
old things are passed away, behold these are new things that I make,g
is
he not turning them round towards new things? I have long
since established the fact that this termination of the ancient
things was rather the Creator's own promise made actual in
Christ, under the authority of that one same God to whom be-
long both old things and new. For new wine is not put into old
bottles by one who has never had any old bottles, and no man
adds a new piece to an old garment unless he has an old garment
to add it to. The <only> person who abstains from doing a thing
if it ought not to be done, is the person who has the means of
doing it if it ought to be done. Consequently, if <Christ> was
applying the parable to this purpose, of indicating that he separa-
ted the newness of the gospel from the oldness of the law, he made
it clear that that from which he separated it was his own, and
ought not to have been stigmatized as evil by the separation
of things which did not belong: because no man combines his
own belongings with those of others just to make it possible to
separate them from those of the others. Separation is possible
because things are conjoined: and their conjunction brings it
about. So he made it plain that the things he was separating had
once been in unity, as they would have continued to be if he were
not separating them. In that sense we admit this separation, by
way of reformation, of enlargement, of progress, as fruit is sepa-
rated from seed, since fruit comes out of seed. So also the gospel is


IV.12 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 311

separated from the law, because it is an advance from out of the
law, another thing than the law, though not an alien thing,
different, though not opposed. Nor is there in Christ any novel
style of discourse. When he sets forth similitudes, when he answers
questions, this comes from the seventy-seventh psalm: I will open
my mouth,
he says, in a parable, which means a similitude: I will
utter dark sayings,h
which means, I will explain difficulties. If you
had wished to prove a man was of a foreign nation, perhaps you
would do so by his idiomatic use of his native speech.

12. [Luke 6: 1-11.] Concerning the sabbath also I make this
preliminary remark, that there could have been no ground for
this objection either, except that Christ represented himself as
Lord of the sabbath.1 There could have been no discussion as to
why he was breaking the sabbath, if it had been his duty to break
it. And it would have been his duty to break it, if he had belonged
to that other god, and no one would have been surprised at his
doing what it was incumbent upon him to do. The reason for
their surprise then was that it was not his business both to repre-
sent God the Creator and to assail his sabbath. So then, that we
may have a decision on all these primary matters, so as not to have
to repeat ourselves at every quibble of our opponent which rests
upon some new aspect of Christ's teaching, this postulate shall
be taken as established, that the only reason why discussion arose
at the novelty of any of his teaching was that nothing had ever
yet been said about any novel deity, nor had there been any
discussion of it: nor can the retort be made that by the actual
novelty of each point of his teaching Christ gave sufficient proof
of a different deity, since it is perfectly clear that there is no room
for surprise at the existence in Christ of that novelty which the
Creator had actually promised. Surely the natural process would
have been for that other god to be first brought to notice, and
afterwards for his moral code to be introduced: because it is the
god that gives authority to the code, not the code that gives
authority to the god—unless of course Marcion did not obtain
his perverse writings from a teacher but learned of the teacher
through the writings. The other considerations regarding the
sabbath I set out as follows. If Christ did subvert the sabbath,
he acted after the Creator's example: for at the siege of the city

12. 1 The sabbath: II. 21 and adv. Jud. 4.


IV.12 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 313

of Jericho the carrying of the ark of the covenant round the walls
for eight days, including the sabbath, by the Creator's express
command, broke the sabbath by working—or so those people
think who have the same opinion also of Christ, being unaware
that neither did Christ break the sabbath nor did the Creator,
as I shall shortly show. Even so, the sabbath was on that occasion
broken by Joshua so that this too might be taken as referring to
Christ. Even if it was through hatred that he made an attack on
the Jews' most solemn day because <as Marcion alleges> he was
not the Jews' Christ, even by this hatred of the sabbath he, the
Creator's Christ, acknowledged the Creator, following up his cry
made by the mouth of Isaiah: Your new moons and sabbaths my soul
hateth.a
Now in whatever sense this was spoken we know that in
circumstances of this kind a sharp reproof has to be put in action
against a sharp provocation. Next I shall argue the case in refer-
ence to the actual subject in which Christ's rule of conduct has
been thought to destroy the sabbath. The disciples had been
hungry: on that very day they had plucked the ears of corn and
rubbed them in their hands: by preparing food they had made
a breach in the holy day. Christ holds them guiltless, and so be-
comes guilty of infringing the sabbath: the pharisees are his
accusers. Marcion takes exception to the heads2 of the controversy
—if I may play about a bit with the truth of my Lord3—written
document and intention. A plausible answer2 is based upon the
Creator's written document and on Christ's intention, as by
the precedent of David who on the sabbath day entered into the
templeb and prepared food by boldly breaking up the loaves of
the shewbread.4 For he too remembered that even from the
beginning, since the sabbath day was first instituted, this privilege
was granted to it—I mean exemption from fasting. For when the
Creator forbade the gathering of two days' supply of manna, he
allowed it only on the day before the sabbath, so that by having
food prepared the day before he might make immune from
fasting the holy day of the sabbath that followed. Well it is then
that our Lord followed the same purpose in breaking down the
sabbath—if that is what they want it called: well it is also that he

12. 2 Status and color as terms of rhetoric: Quintilian, inst. orat. in. vi sqq.
3 Holmes translates this: 'if I may call in aid the truth of my Lord to ridicule
his arts'. He may be right.
4 At 1 Sam. 21:3 the sabbath is not mentioned.


IV.12 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 315

gave effect to the Creator's intention by the privilege of not
fasting on the sabbath. In fact he would have once and for all
broken the sabbath, and the Creator besides, if he had enjoined
his disciples to fast on the sabbath, in opposition to the fact of
scripture and of the Creator's intention. So then, as he did not
keep his disciples in close constraint, but now finds excuse for
them: as he puts in answer human necessity as begging for con-
siderate treatment: as he conserves the higher privilege of the
sabbath, of freedom from sorrow rather than abstention from
work: as he associates David and his followers with his own
disciples in fault and in permission: as he is in agreement with the
relaxation the Creator has given: as after the Creator's example
he himself is equally kind: is he on that account an alien from
the Creator? After that the pharisees watch if he will heal a man
on the sabbath, that they might accuse him—evidently <accuse him>
as a breaker of the sabbath, not as the setter forth of a strange
god: for perhaps I shall everywhere insist on this point alone, that
nowhere was there any prophecy of a different Christ. But the
pharisees were utterly in error about the law of the sabbath,
having failed to notice that it is under certain conditions that it
enjoins abstention from works, under a specific aspect of them. For
when it says of the sabbath day, No work of thine shall thou do in it,c
by saying thine it has made a ruling concerning that human work
which any man performs by his craft or business, not divine work.
But the work of healing or of rescue is not properly man's
work but God's. So again in the law it says, In it thou shall do no
manner of work, save that which is to be done for every soul,
that is, with
the purpose of setting a soul free: for the work of God can be done
even by the agency of a man, for the saving of a soul, yet God is
the doer of it: and this as Man Christ also was going to do, be-
cause he is also God. Because of his desire to lead them towards
this understanding of the law by the restoration of the withered
hand, he asks them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath, or not ? to
set a soul free, or to destroy it?:
so that by giving approval to that
sort of work which he purposed to do for the soul, he might give
them warning of what works the law of the sabbath forbade,
human works, and what works it enjoined, divine works, which
were to be done for every soul. He called himself Lord of the
sabbath, because he was protecting the sabbath as belonging to
himself. Though even if he had broken it, he would have had the


IV.12 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 317

right to, because he who has given a thing existence is even more
than lord of it. But he did not, as its Lord, wholly destroy it, and
so it can now become clear that not even of old at the carrying
of the ark at Jericho was the sabbath destroyed. For that too was
a work of God, which he himself had commanded, and which
he had ordained for the sake of the souls of his own men which
were exposed to the hazards of war. And even if he has in some
place expressed his hatred of sabbaths, by saying Your sabbaths,d
he reckons as men's sabbaths, not his own, those which are cele-
brated without the fear of God by a people full of sins, who love
God with the lips and not with the heart: while to his own sabbaths,
all such as should be kept by his rules, he assigned a different
quality, and these he afterwards by that same prophet pro-
nounces true and delightsomee and not to be profaned.f Nor then
did Christ in any way revoke the sabbath, but retained the law
of it both just before in the case of the disciples when he performed
a work for their soul—for he granted to hungry men the comfort
of food—and just now when he heals the withered hand: on
each occasion he insists by his actions, I am not come to destroy the
law but to fulfil it,g
even if Marcion has closed his mouth with this
word. Even in this instance he fulfilled the law by explaining the
circumstances which condition it, by throwing light upon different
kinds of works, by doing the things which the law exempts from
the restraints of the sabbath, by making even more holy by his
own kind deeds that sabbath day which since the beginning had
been holy by the Father's kind words; for in it he made himself
the minister of those divine aids, <a ministry> which an adversary
would have provided for on other days to avoid doing honour to
the Creator's sabbath and giving back to the sabbath the works
which are proper to it. If on that day the prophet Elisha restored
to lifeh the Shunamite woman's son that was dead,5 you observe,
O pharisee, and you too, Marcion, that of old it was the Creator's
practice to do good on sabbath days, to set a soul free, not to
destroy it, and that Christ introduced nothing new, nothing which
was not in line with the example, the gentleness, the mercy, even
the prophecies, of the Creator. For here too he puts into present
effect the prophecy of a particular kind of healing: weak hands
are strengthened,i as also were enfeebled knees in the sick of the
palsy.

12. 5 At 2 Kings 4: 23 the woman's husband says it is not the sabbath.


IV.13 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 319

13. [Luke 6: 12-19.] You cannot deny that he brings to Sion and
Jerusalem good tidings of peace and of all good things, nor that
he goes up into the mountain and there spends all night in prayer,
and in effect is heard by his Father. Open then the prophets, and
you will find it all set in order there. Get thee up, says Isaiah, into
the high mountain, O thou that bringest good tidings to Sion, lift up thy
voice with strength, thou that bringest good tidings to Jerusalem.a
Even
now with strength were they astonished at his doctrine: for he
taught them as one that had power.b And again: Therefore my
people shall know my name at that day—
what name, unless it be
Christ's?—because it is I myself who speak:c because it was he him-
self who was then speaking in the prophets, the Word, the Son
of the Creator. I am here, while the time is, upon the mountains, as one
that bringeth good tidings of the hearing of peace, as bringing good tidings
of good things.d
Also Nahum, one of the twelve, For behold, swift
upon the mountain are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings of peace:e
But concerning the voice of prayer all night to the Father, the
psalm manifestly speaks: O my God, I will cry throughout the day,
and thou wilt hear, and at night, and it shall not be to me for vanity.f
And
in another place a psalm speaks of the same place and voice:
With my voice I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me from his holy moun-
tain.g
So you have his name made present, you have the action
of one who brings good tidings, you have his place on the moun-
tain, and the time at night, and the sound of the voice, and the
Father hearing him: you have the Christ of the prophets. But
why did he choose twelve apostles, and not some other number?
Nay but even from this I could find that my Christ is indicated,
one foretold not only by the voices of the prophets but also by
the evidences of facts. I find figurative indications of this number
in the Creator's scriptures, the twelve springs at Elim, the twelve
jewels on Aaron's priestly garment, and the twelve stones chosen
by Joshua out of Jordan and laid up in the ark of the covenant.h
For this was a previous indication that apostles to that number
would like fountains and rivers irrigate the world of the gentiles
which had formerly been dried up and deserted of knowledge—
as he also says in Isaiah, I will place rivers in a waterless landiand
would like jewels shed light upon the holy vesture of the church,
that vesture which Christ the Father's high priest has put on,
and would be firm in the faith like stones which the true Joshua


IV.14 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 321

has chosen out of the baptism of Jordan and received into the
holy place of his own covenant. Has Marcion's Christ anything
that justifies his retention of that number? It cannot be thought
that a thing was done by him without special meaning, which
can be seen to have been done by my Christ with special mean-
ing. The fact itself must belong to the one with whom is found
the preparation for the fact. Also he changes Simon's name to
Peter, because the Creator too had altered the names of Abraham
and Sarah and Auses, calling this last one Joshua [Jesus], adding
syllables to the other two. Also why Peter? If because of force-
fulness of faith, there were many firm and solid materials to lend
a name of their own. Or was it because Christ is both rock and
stone? For we do indeed find it written that he is set for a stone
of stumbling and a rock of offence.j I leave out the rest. And so
he made a point of passing on to the dearest of his disciples a
name specially connected with the types of himself, a closer name,
I imagine, than one drawn from other types than his. There
come together from Tyre and Sidon, and from other countries, a
multitude even from over the sea. This the psalm had in mind:
And behold, the Philistines and Tyre and the people of the Morians, these
have been there: Mother Sion, a man will say, and he became man in her

because God as man was born—and he hath builded her by the will
of the Fatherk
that you may know that the reason why the gentiles
then came together to him was that God as Man had been born
and was to build up the church by the Father's will, even from
among the Philistines. So also Isaiah, Lo, these do come from far,
and these come from the north and from the sea, and others from the land
of the Persians.l
Of these he says again, Lift up thine eyes round about
and see, all these are gathered together.m
And of the same a little later,
when she sees the unknown and the strangers: And thou shall say
to thine heart, Who hath begotten me these? and who hath brought me up
these? and these, tell me, where have they been?n
Must not this be the
Christ of the prophets? So who can the Christ of the Marcionites
be? If perversity is to their mind, the Christ who was not of the
prophets.

14. [Luke 6: 20-2.] I come next to those customary judgements by
which he builds up his own special doctrine, what I may call the


IV.14 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 323

magisterial edict of Christ.1 Blessed are the indigent—for the transla-
tion of the word which is in the Greek requires it so—for theirs is
the kingdom of God.
Now this very fact that he begins with blessings
is characteristic of the Creator, who with no other voice than of
benediction gave sanctity to the universe of things as soon as he
made them. For he says, My heart hath disgorged a supremely good
word.a
This must be that excellent Word, of benediction surely,
who by the precedent of the old covenant is recognized as the
initiator of the new covenant as well. What wonder is it then, if
he also by words of this kind begins his discourse with the Crea-
tor's affections, the Creator who always expresses his love for
the indigent, the poor, the humble, and the widows and orphans,
comforting, protecting, and avenging them—so that you may
take this (as it were) private bounty of Christ to be a stream from
the Saviour's fountains? Truly I do not know which way to turn
among so great a multitude of words such as these, as it might be
in a thicket or a meadow or an orchard of fruits. I must take up
each instance at random, as chance suggests it. The psalm calls
out, Judge for the fatherless and indigent, and treat with justice the
humble and poor: deliver the poor, and rend the indigent out of the hand
of the sinner.b
Also the seventy-first psalm, With righteousness shall
he judge the indigent of the people, and shall make safe the sons of the
poor.
And in what follows, it refers to Christ: All the gentiles shall
serve him.c
Now David had power over the Jewish people only:
so let no one think it was said with reference to David that he
had taken to himself the humble and those who were borne down
by need and want. Because, he says, he hath delivered the indigent
from the mighty: he shall spare the indigent and poor, and shall make
safe the souls of the poor, and shall redeem their souls from usury and
injustice, and honoured shall their name be in his sight.d
Also: Let the
sinners be turned aside into hell, all the gentiles who forget God, because the
indigent man shall not for ever be kept for oblivion, the patient abiding
of poor men shall not for ever perish.e
Also, Who is like our God, who
hath his dwelling on high, and hath regard for humble things in heaven
and on earth: who lifteth up the indigent from the earth, and exalteth the

14. 1 Tertullian suggests that the beatitudes and the woes, after the manner
of the praetor's perpetual edict, are Christ's statement of the principles on
which he will act when he comes to judge the world.


IV.14 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 325

poor out of the dunghill, that he may make him to sit with the princes of
the people?f
meaning, in God's own kingdom. Also, further back,
in Kingdoms, Hannah, the mother of Samuel, in the Spirit gives
glory to God and says, He lifteth up the poor from the earth, the indigent
also, that he may make him to sit with the mighty ones of the people,
evidently in his own kingdom, and upon thrones of glory,g royal
thrones. And in Isaiah also how does he lash out against the
oppressors of the needy: Ye then, what mean ye that ye set fire to my
vineyard, and the spoil of the indigent is in your houses? Wherefore do
ye oppress my people, and shame the face of the indigent ?h
And again,
Woe to them that write down iniquity, for in writing they write down
wickedness, avoiding the judgements of the indigent, and ravaging the
rights of the poor of my people.i
These judgements he also demands
on behalf of orphans and widows, these too being in need of
consolation: Do judgement for the orphan, and deal justly with the
widow, and come, let us be reconciled, saith the Lord.j
Whosoever has
that great affection which the Creator has for every rank of
humble estate, his also will be the kingdom promised by Christ,
whose affection all those already enjoy to whom the promise is
made. Even if you suppose the Creator's promises were earthly,
while Christ's are heavenly, it is well enough that until now there
is no indication of heaven belonging to any other god but the
God to whom earth belongs: it is well enough that the Creator
has made promises of even lesser things, because this makes it
easy for me to believe him in respect of greater things, rather than
one who has not previously on a foundation of lesser things built
up faith in his liberality. Blessed are they that hunger, for they shall
be filled.
I should have been able to attach this clause to the one
before, because they that hunger are precisely the same as the
poor and the indigent, except that the Creator had particularly
designed this promise as preparatory work for that gospel which
in fact is his own: because by Isaiah he speaks thus of those,
meaning the gentiles, whom he would call to him from the end
of the earth: Behold swiftly, lightly, will they comekswiftly because
they are in haste, towards the end of the times, lightly because
they are free of the burdens of the ancient law. They shall not
hunger nor thirst—
which means they will be filled, and a promise
like this is only made to such as are hungry and thirsty. And


IV.14 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 327

again, Behold they that serve me shall be filed, but ye shall be hungry:
behold they that serve me shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty.l
We shall
ask ourselves whether even these contrasts are not preparatory
for Christ. For the moment, in that he promises the hungry they
will be filled, he belongs to the Creator. Blessed are they that weep,
for they shall laugh.
Proceed with the statement of Isaiah: Behold
they that serve me shall exult in joyfulness, but ye shall be put to shame:
behold they that serve me shall be made glad, but ye shall cry aloud for
sorrow of heart.m
Take note of these contrasts also in Christ's words.
Undoubtedly gladness and exultation in joyfulness are promised
to those who are in opposite circumstances, the sad, the sorrowful,
and the distressed. In fact psalm one hundred and twenty-five
also says, They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.n Certainly laughter
is quite as characteristic of those who exult and are in joyfulness,
as weeping is of those in sorrow and grief. Thus by his prophecy of
causes for laughter and of weeping the Creator was the first to
say that those who mourn will laugh. Consequently, when he
began his discourse with consolation to the poor and lowly, to
those who were hungry and in tears, <Christ> took immediate
steps to identify himself with that one of whom he had given
indications in Isaiah: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he
hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor.o Blessed are the indigent,
for theirs is the kingdom of heavenp
He hath sent me to heal the broken
hearted.o Blessed are they that are hungry, for they shall be filled—pTo
comfort those that mourn.o Blessed are they that weep, for they shall laughp
To give to them that mourn the glory of Sion, and instead of ashes the
joyfulness of anointing, and the garment of glory for the spirit of heaviness.o
If this is the ministry Christ fulfilled immediately on entering his
course, either he is the same who foretold that he would come for
this purpose, or else, if he who foretold it has not yet come, foolishly
perhaps, yet of necessity, I shall have to say, he must have given
his commission to Marcion's Christ. Blessed shall ye be when men
shall hate you and reproach you and shall cast out your name as evil for
the Son of man's sake.
By this pronouncement he no doubt exhorts
them to endurance. What less did the Creator say by Isaiah?
Fear ye not reproach from men, neither be ye brought low by their reviling.q
What reproach, what reviling? That which was to come for the
Son of man's sake. And who is this? The one who follows the
Creator's pattern. How shall I prove it? Because of the hatred


IV.15 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 329

prophesied against him: as by Isaiah, addressing the Jews, the
instigators of hatred: For your sakes my name is blasphemed among the
gentiles:r
and in another place: Sanctify him who doth cut off his
own soul, who is held in scorn by the gentiles, the servants and the rulers.s
For if hatred was foretold against that Son of man who follows
the Creator's pattern, while the gospel testifies that the name
of Christians, which evidently is derived from Christ, will be
hated for the Son of man's sake, and this is Christ, it indicates
as the reason for that hatred the Son of man who was after the
Creator's pattern, him against whom hatred was foretold. And
in fact, if he were not yet come, the hatred of the name, which is
today a present fact, could not have come into evidence before the
Person to whom the name belongs. For he is even now sanctified
among us, and does cut off his own soul by laying it down for
our sake, and is held in scorn by the gentiles. Also one who has
experienced human birth, he and no other must be that Son of
man for whose sake even our name is cast out as evil.

15. [Luke 6: 23-6.] In like manner, he says, did their fathers to the
prophets.
See this turncoat Christ, first the destroyer of the pro-
phets, and next the vindicator of them: as their enemy destroying
them, by converting their disciples to himself: as a friend, vindi-
cating them, by casting reproach upon their persecutors. Now,
in so far as vindication of the prophets would have been out of
character with the Christ of Marcion who had come to destroy
them, to that same extent it is in character with the Creator's
Christ to cast reproach upon the persecutors of those prophets
whom in all points he was fulfilling—at least because to blame
the sons for the fathers' sins is more in keeping with the Creator
than it is with that god who does not even censure a man for his
own sins. But, you say, he was not necessarily acting in defence
of the prophets if it was his intention to insist on the iniquity of
the Jews in not treating with kindness even their own prophets.
Yes, but here there was no excuse for blaming the Jews for wrong-
doing: they should rather have been praised and commended, if
they took strong action against those to whose destruction after
all these ages your very good god has at last bestirred himself.
But, I imagine, he is no longer perfectly good: at length he shares
something of the Creator's character, and has ceased to be entirely


IV.15 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 331

Epicurus' god. For see, he betakes himself to cursing and shows
himself to be one who is capable of offence and anger. For he says
Woe. So we have the question raised of the import of this word,
with the suggestion that it implies not so much malediction as
admonition.1 But what is the difference in intention, when even
an admonition is not given without the spur of commination,
especially when made more astringent by the word Woe? Also
both admonition and commination are in character with one
who is capable of being angry. For no one is going either by ad-
monition or by commination to forbid a person to do something,
unless he is going to inflict punishment if it is done. No one can
inflict punishment, but one who is capable of anger. There are
others indeed who admit the word involves cursing, but will have
it that Christ uttered the word Woe not as proceeding strictly
from his own judgement, but because the word woe comes from
the Creator, and he wished to set before them the Creator's
severity, and so give greater commendation to his own tolerance
previously in the beatitudes. As though this were not within the
Creator's competence, in that he presents himself in both aspects,
as the kind God and as the Judge, having given previous indica-
tion of his kindness in the benedictions, afterwards to append his
severity in the maledictions—the full extent of his moral law to
be built up in both directions, no less for men to seek after his
benediction than for them to take precaution against his maledic-
tion. For he had long ago set it down in that form: Behold I have
set before you blessing and cursinga
which was also an early indica-
tion of this double aspect of the gospel. In any case what sort of
person is that who for the sake of suggesting his own kindness
begins by pointing the contrast of the Creator's sternness? A poor
sort of commendation is this, which props itself up by the running
down of someone else. But, you say, by pointing the contrast of
the Creator's sternness he did establish the fact that he is one to
be feared. <Yes: but> if one to be feared, one rather to be obeyed
than disregarded, and Marcion's Christ begins now to give teach-
ing on behalf of the Creator. Again, if that Woe which has the
rich in view is the Creator's, then it is not Christ who is angry
with the rich, but the Creator, and Christ sets his approval
on rich men's claims, that pride and glory, I mean, that devotion
to the world and neglect of God, for which they deserve that Woe

15. 1 On blessing and cursing: Irenaeus, A.H. iv. xliv. 1-3.


IV.15 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 333

from the Creator. And surely this disapproval of the rich must
proceed from the same <Christ> who has just now expressed
approval of the indigent. Any man disapproves of the contrary
of that of which he has expressed approval. So it follows that if
that curse against the rich is ascribed to the Creator, the blessing
of the indigent must also be claimed for him, and in that case
the whole work of Christ is the Creator's work. If the blessing
meant for the indigent is to be ascribed to Marcion's god, the
cursing meant for the rich must be set down to him too, and in
that case he will be exactly like the Creator, a kind god and also
a judge, and there will no longer be room for that distinction by
which there come to be two gods, and, as the distinction is
abolished, there will remain no other course than for the Creator
to be pronounced the only God there is. Therefore if Woe is a
term of malediction, or of some unusually severe reproof, and if
it is by Christ directed against the rich, I have to prove that the
Creator too disapproves of the rich, as I have already proved
that he is a comforter of the indigent, so that in this sentiment
too I may show that Christ is with the Creator. For if the Creator
made Solomon rich, this was because when given the opportunity
of choosing he thought it better to ask for things which he knew
were pleasing to God—wisdom and understanding—and thus
was worthy to obtain the riches also to which he had not given
the preference. And yet even to grant a man riches is not out of
character with God, for both by these the rich obtain ease and
comfort, and with them are performed many works of justice
and charity. But the faults incidental to riches, the woes in the
gospel impute these also to rich persons, Because, it says, ye have
received your comfort—
meaning, from your riches, because of the
reputation they bring and the worldly benefits. And so in Deutero-
nomy Moses says, Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built
great houses, and thy sheep and thy oxen are multiplied, and thy silver and
gold, thy heart be lifted up and thou forget the Lord thy God.b
So also
against Hezekiah the king, when he was puffed up for his treasures'
sake, and had boasted of them rather than of God in the presence
of the men who had come from Persia,2 <the Creator> makes an
attack by Isaiah, Behold the days come, in which all things that are
in thy house shall be taken away, and the things which thy fathers have
heaped together shall be removed to Babylon.c
And by Jeremiah also

15. 2 The messengers had come from Babylon: Isa. 39: 1; 2 Kings 20: 12.


IV.15 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 335

he said, Let not the rich man glory in his riches, but he that gloriethd
let him in fact glory in the Lord. So also he attacks the daughters
of Sion by Isaiah when they are haughty through luxury and
abundance of riches, as he was also in another place to utter
threats against the high-born and the proud: Hell hath enlarged his
soul and opened his mouth, and the nobles and the great men and the
rich—
here will be Christ's Woe over the rich—shall go down there,
and a man shall be brought low
—evidently one exalted by riches—
and a mighty man shall be dishonouredeobviously one honoured for
his possessions' sake. And concerning these again: Behold the Lord
of hosts shall shatter the overweening with strength, and the high ones
shall be smitten down, and the haughty shall fall by the sword.f
And
who are these but the rich? For they have received their comfort,
glory and honour, their high estate from their riches. To warn
us away from these he says also in psalm forty-eight, Be not thou
afraid, though a man be made rich, even though his glory be increased,
because he shall take none of them when he dieth, neither shall his glory
go down
<to the grave> with him.g Also in psalm sixty-one, Desire not
riches, and if they are lustrous, set not your heart upon them.h
Lastly, that
same word woe is directed by Amos against rich men who abound
in delights: Woe, he says, to them that sleep on beds of ivory, and
flow with delights upon their couches, who eat the kids out of the flocks
of goats and the sucking calves out of the herds of cattle, who beat time
to the sound of instruments—
they reckoned these as things that
abide, not as things that flee away—who drink their wine refined,
and anoint themselves with the chief ointments.i
Therefore even if I
had done no more than show the Creator dissuading men from
riches, and not also condemning rich men in advance, and that
with the same word that Christ also used, no one could deny
that the threat added against the rich by that woe of Christ, came
from the same authority from whom the dissuasion from the
objects themselves, the riches, had already issued. For a threat is
something added to dissuasion. He utters a woe also against those
who are full, because they will be hungry; as also to those who
laugh now, for they shall mourn. With this correspond the things
already mentioned as set over against his benedictions by the
Creator: Behold, they that serve me shall be filled, but ye shall be hungry
evidently because you have been filled: and behold, they that serve


IV.16 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 337

me shall rejoice, but ye shall be put to shamejevidently, you will
weep who now laugh. For as it says in the psalm, They that sow
in tears shall reap in joy,k
so also in the gospel, they that sow in
laughter, that is, because of joy, shall reap in tears. Long ago
did the Creator set these things side by side: Christ, by not chang-
ing them but only giving them emphasis, has made them new.
Woe when men shall speak well of you. That is what their fathers used
to do to the false prophets. No less does the Creator, by Isaiah,
censure those who seek after the blessing and praise of men: O
my people, they that call you blessed do lead you astray and disturb the
paths of your feet.l
And in other terms he even forbids them to have
any confidence in a man, and consequently not in man's praise,
as by Jeremiah, Cursed is the man who hath hope in a man.m For he
says also in psalm one hundred and seventeen, It is better to trust
in God than to put confidence in man,
and it is better to hope in God
than to hope in princes.n
So then everything that people try to ob-
tain from man, the Creator has given judgement against, in-
cluding their well-speaking. He it is who condemns their fathers
no less for praising and blessing the false prophets, than for
persecuting and rejecting the true prophets: just as the insults
done to the prophets could not have been acceptable to the God
of those prophets, even so the favours done to the false prophets
could have been displeasing only to the God of the true prophets.

16. [Luke 6: 27-31.] But, he says, to you I say who hear—proving
that this is a long-standing command of the Creator, Speak in the
ears of them that heara
Love your enemies, and bless them that hate you,
and pray for them that speak evil of you.
All this the Creator has en-
closed in one sentence by Isaiah, Say to them that hate you, Ye are
our brethren.b
For if we have to address as brethren those who are
our enemies, who hate us and curse us and speak evil of us,
evidently he who gave instructions for them to be reckoned as
brethren is the one who has given the command to bless those
that hate us and pray for those who speak evil of us. Admittedly
Christ teaches a new degree of forbearance, when he puts restraint
on that retaliation for injury which the Creator permitted by
demanding an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth: for he on
the contrary orders us rather to offer the other cheek, and in


IV.16 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 339

addition to the coat to let go of the cloak also. Evidently Christ
will have added this as supplementary, yet in agreement with
the Creator's rules. So we need an immediate decision on this
question, whether the rule of forbearance is contained in the
Creator's teaching. When by Zechariah he gives the instruction,
Let not any one of you remember his brother's malice,c that includes his
neighbour. For again he says, Let not any one of you think over his
neighbour's malice.d
He who has charged them to forget the injury
has even more than given them charge to bear with it. But again
when he says, Vengeance is mine and I will avenge,e he inculcates
forbearance, as that which stands in expectation of vengeance.
So then, in so far as it is quite incredible that the demand of tooth
for tooth and eye for eye in return for an injury should proceed
from the same one who forbids not only retaliation, not only
vengeance, but even the remembrance and recollection of injury,
to that extent it becomes clear to us in what sense he decreed an
eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth—not so as to permit
a second injury of retaliation, seeing he had forbidden this by
prohibiting vengeance, but so as to set restraint upon the first.
This he had forbidden by the interposition of retaliation, so that
every man, having regard to that permission for a second injury,
might abstain from committing the first. For he is aware that
violence is more readily restrained by the immediate application
of retaliation than by the promise of future revenge. Both of these
had to be provided for, to meet human nature and men's faith,
so that the man who believed God might expect God to exact
vengeance, while the man who was deficient in faith should have
respect for the laws of retaliation. This was the intention of that
law, but it was in difficulties through lack of understanding, until
Christ, as Lord both of the sabbath and of the law and of all his
Father's ordinances, both revealed <its purpose> and made it
capable <of comprehension> when he commanded the offering
even of the other cheek: for by so doing he put an end to those
reprisals for injury which the law had intended to check by
retaliation, reprisals which beyond doubt the prophecy had mani-
festly brought under restraint when it forbade the remembrance
of injury and referred vengeance back to God. Consequently,
whatever addition Christ made, he caused no destruction of the


IV.16 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 341

Creator's rules: for the command he gave was not in opposition
but in furtherance of them. So then if I look for his actual reason
for enjoining forbearance, forbearance so full and complete, it
can only be convincing if it appertains to that Creator who
promises vengeance and presents himself as judge. Otherwise if
such a burden of forbearance, in not only not striking back but
even of presenting the other cheek, in not only not returning in-
sults but even of kindly speaking, in not only not holding on to
one's coat but even of letting go of one's cloak also, is imposed
upon me by one who is not going to be my defender, in vain does
he enjoin forbearance: for he sets before me no reward for <follow-
ing> his injunction, I mean, no fruit of my endurance: and this
is the revenge which he ought to have left in my discretion if he
himself does not provide it, or else, if he was not leaving it to me,
he ought to provide it for me: because it is in the interest of good
conduct, that injury should be avenged. For it is by fear of ven-
geance that all iniquity is kept in check. But for that, if indiscrimi-
nate liberty is accorded, iniquity will get the mastery, so as to
pluck out both eyes, and knock out all the teeth, because it is
convinced of impunity. But this is characteristic of that supremely
good god, who is kind and nothing more, to inflict injury upon for-
bearance, to open the door to violence, to abstain from defending
the righteous, and to leave the wicked unconstrained. Give to
everyone that asketh thee—
evidently, to the man in need, or perhaps
so much the more to the man in need, if it includes the man with
abundance. So then to prevent any from being in need, you find
that in Deuteronomy there is imposed upon the giver the example
of the Creator, who says, There shall be no needy person in thee, that
the Lord thy God may surely bless theef
the giver, it means, who has
caused there to be no needy person. But there is more here. For
his command is, to give to one who does not ask: Let there not be,
he says, a needy person in thee, which means, without being asked,
take care that there shall not be: by which he makes an even
stronger case for giving to the one who does ask. Again in what
follows: But if there shall be one in need from among thy brethren, thou
shall not turn away thy heart nor shut thy hand from thy brother who is
in need: thou shalt surely open to him thy hand, and shall lend him as
much as he is in want of.g
Now a loan is not usually given except to


IV.16 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 343

one who asks for it. But about the loan, more hereafter. Now if
anyone wishes to argue that the Creator ordered gifts to be given
to the brethren, but that Christ said they must be given to all
who ask, so that this is something new and different, I answer
that this will be one of those points in which the Creator's law is
found in Christ. For Christ has prescribed the same action to-
wards all men, as the Creator did towards the brethren. For
although that kindness is greater which is exercised towards
strangers, it takes no precedence of that which was previously a
debt towards the people next door. For who is there that is able
to love strangers? But if the second degree of kindness, towards
strangers, is the same as that first degree, towards one's neighbours,
that second degree will have to belong to the same one to whom
the first belonged—much more easily than that the second degree
should belong to one whose first was non-existent. So it was in
accordance with the course of nature that the Creator first taught
of kindness towards neighbours, intending afterwards to extend
it towards strangers, and, according to the reckoning of his own
dispensation, at first towards the Jews, and afterwards also to-
wards every race of men. Consequently, so long as the mystery
remained within Israel, quite rightly he enjoined mercy towards
the brethren alone: but when he had given to Christ the heathen
for an inheritance and the utmost parts of the earth for his posses-
sion,h and when the fulfilment began of that which was spoken
by Hosea, Not-my-people <shall be> My-people, and She that had not
obtained mercy <shall be> She that hath obtained mercyi
the gentile
nation, it means—from thenceforth Christ extended towards all
men the law of his Father's bounty, excluding none from his
compassion as he excludes none from his vocation. And so also
any further teaching he gave, this also he had received to add to
his inheritance of the heathen. And as ye would that men should do
to you, even so do ye to them.
In this precept of course the other
side of it is to be understood: And as ye would that men should not
do to you, neither do ye to them. If this precept was given by a
new god, one formerly unknown, and even now not fully revealed,
one who had previously given me no formative instruction by
which I could know beforehand what I ought to wish for or not
to wish for for myself, and so do for others what I wished to be
done to me, and abstain from doing what I did not wish to be


IV.16 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 345

done to me,—in that case he has left to my own judgement wide
possibilities, in no way tying me down to any agreement of acts
and wishes, so as to do to others what I would they should do to
me, and not do to others what I would not they should do to me.
For as he has given no definition of what it is my duty to wish or
not to wish, either for myself or for others, so as to equate my
action with the law of my will, it follows that I am able not to
grant to another that which I should wish another to grant to me,
love, respect, consolation, protection, and benefits of that nature,
and likewise to do also to another what I should wish another
not to do to me, violence, insult, despite, deceit, and evils of that
kind. Indeed with such-like disagreement of their acts and their
wishes do the heathen conduct themselves who are as yet with-
out instruction from God. For although the fact of good and evil
is known by nature, yet God's rule of conduct is not: but when
this is known, then at length agreement between will and action
comes into operation as a result of faith, as under the fear of God.
And so Marcion's god, now that he has recently been revealed,
if indeed revealed, has not been in a position, in respect of this
precept which we are considering, to publish a summary so con-
cise and obscure and even yet of hidden meaning, or more easy
of interpretation in accordance with my own preferential choice:
for he had worked out no previous distinction in the matter. My
Creator however has both of old time and in every place pre-
scribed that the needy, poor and orphans and widows, must
receive protection, help, and refreshment: as by Isaiah, Break thy
bread for the indigent, and them that are without shelter bring thou into
thy house, and if thou seest the naked, cover him:j
also by Ezekiel, con-
cerning the just man, He will give his bread to the hungry, and will
cover the naked.k
As early as that then he taught me well enough
to do to others what I would they should do to me. And likewise
by such pronouncements as Thou shall not kill, thou shall not com-
mit adultery, thou shall not steal, thou shall not bear false witness,l
he
taught me not to do to others the things I would not they should
do to me. Consequently the precept in the gospel will have come
from him who of old time both prepared for it, and gave it
distinct expression, and set it under the arbitrement of his own
rule of conduct, and has now, as was his right, given it summary
precision: because also in another context it was foretold that the


IV.17 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 347

Lord, which is Christ, would make concise speech upon the
earth.m

17. [Luke 6: 34-49.] Next, on the matter of lending at interest,
when he puts this question, And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to
receive, what thank have ye?,
run over what follows in Ezekiel on
the just man above-mentioned: He hath not, it says, put out his
money at interest, and will not accept any increasea
meaning the excess
amount due to interest, which is usury. It was first necessary for
him to suppress the return of interest on capital: by this means
he would the more easily reconcile a man to the loss possibly
even of the capital, when he had first been taught to remit the
interest on it. This is what I mean when I speak of the function
of the law in preparing for the gospel. So early as that by certain
primary precepts of a benevolence which had not yet learned to
express itself clearly, was it gradually moulding the faith of some
few towards the full splendour of the Christian moral law. For
he said before, And he will restore the pledge to the debtor,b evidently if
he is insolvent, for would any man have had cause to write that
the pledge must be restored to one who was solvent? It is put
much more evidently in Deuteronomy: Thou shalt not sleep upon
his pledge, but thou shalt surely return to him his cloak about sunset, and
he will sleep upon his cloak.c
Clearer still before that: Thou shalt
release every debt which thy neighbour oweth thee, and thou shalt not
require it of thy brother, because the release of the Lord thy God hath been
proclaimed.d
Now when he orders debt to be remitted, evidently
meaning to one who is not going to repay—for it means still
more when he forbids asking for it back, even though the man is
going to pay—what does he mean, who has enjoined so great a
loss on loans, except that we must lend even to one who has no
intention of paying? And ye shall be the sons of God. An outrageous
thing, if that god is going to make us sons to himself, who by
depriving us of matrimony has made it impossible for us to get
sons for ourselves. How can he promote <us as> his own to that
title which he has already abolished ? I cannot become the son of
a eunuch, especially when I have for Father the same one whom
all things have. For just as he who is the Creator of the universe
is the Father of all things, so he who is the creator of no substance
is but a eunuch. Even if the Creator had not conjoined the male
and the female, even if he had not granted offspring to all living


IV.17 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 349

creatures whatsoever, I was in this relation to him before there
was paradise, before there was sin, before the expulsion, before
the two became one. At once was I made his son, immediately
he had formed me with his hands, when by his breath he gave
me movement. He it is who now for a second time gives me the
name of son, while he brings me to birth not this time as soul
but as spirit. Because, he continues, he is kind unto the unthankful and
evil.
Well done, Marcion. Cleverly enough have you deprived
him of rain and sunshine, that he might not be taken for the
Creator. Yet who is this kind one, who has never been heard of
until now? How could he be kind when from him had proceeded
no good gifts of this sort of kindness with which <he had acted>
who gave us the loan of sunshine and showers without expecta-
tion of any return from the human race? This the Creator has
done, who in return for all his liberality in works of nature even
until now bears with men while they pay their debt of thanks-
giving more readily to idols than to himself. Truly kind is he,
even with spiritual benefits: for the judgements of the Lord are
sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.e He therefore who has
here put the ungrateful to rebuke, is he who had the right to
find them grateful, and his sunshine and showers you too, Mar-
cion, have enjoyed without gratitude. Your god however had no
call to complain of the ungrateful, as he had made no provision
for having them grateful. Again when he teaches of mercy and
pity he says, Be ye merciful, even as your Father has had mercy upon you.
This will be, Break thy bread for the hungry, and him that is without
shelter bring into thy house, and if thou seest the naked cover him;f
and,
Judge for the fatherless and sustain the cause of the widow.g I see here
that ancient teaching, of him who would rather have mercy than
sacrifice.h Or else, if it is now some other who has required mercy
because he also is merciful, how is it that in all these ages he has
not been merciful to me? Judge not, that ye be not judged: condemn
not, that ye be not condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: give, and
it shall be given to you: good measure, pressed down and running over,
shall they give into your bosom. With the same measure that ye mete
withal, it shall be measured to you again.
As I see it, this sounds like
reward called forth by deserts. From whom then comes the re-
ward? If from men only, then his teaching is of human conduct
and human payment, and our obedience will be entirely given
to men: if from the Creator, as from a judge and assessor of men's


IV.17 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 351

deserts, then it is to him that he directs our obedience, since with
him he has asserted that retribution is to be sought for or feared,
in accordance as each of us has judged or condemned, or forgiven
or meted out: if from that <god of Marcion's> then he too is now
become a judge—and this Marcion denies. So let the Marcionites
make their choice, whether it is worth as much to fall away from
their master's rule, as to take it that Christ's teaching has in view
perhaps men, or else the Creator. But the blind leads the blind into
the ditch.
Some few believe Marcion. But the disciple is not above
his master.
This ought not to have been forgotten by Apelles, first
Marcion's disciple, and afterwards his corrector. Let the heretic
also extract the beam out of his own eye, and then let him pass
censure on the mote he thinks is in the Christian's eye. Moreover
a good tree would not bring forth evil fruit, for neither would
the truth bring forth heresy: an evil tree would not bring
forth good fruit, nor heresy the truth. For this reason Marcion
has not brought out anything good from the evil treasure of
Cerdo, nor Apelles from that of Marcion. We shall find it much
more appropriate to interpret of these persons the things which
Christ has made into an allegory referring to men, than to inter-
pret them of two gods, as Marcion's offence puts it. I reckon that
it is not without justification that I continue to take my stand upon
the position by which I lay it down that nowhere in any sense is
any different god revealed by Christ. I am surprised that in this
alone Marcion's adulterating hand lost its cunning. Except that
even robbers have their fears. No evil act is exempt from fear,
because none is exempt from consciousness of itself. For all that
time then even the Jews knew no other god except him besides
whom they as yet knew no other, nor called upon any other god
than him whom alone they knew. If that is so, whom shall we take
to have asked, Why callest thou me Lord, Lord? Shall it be one who
had never been so called, because never until now revealed? or
shall it be he who was always acknowledged as Lord, as having
been known from the beginning—in fact, the God of the Jews?
Who else could have added, While ye do not what I say? Can it be
one who only at that moment was attempting to teach them, or
one who since the beginning had addressed to them the utterances
of both law and prophets? He too would have been in a position
to rebuke their disobedience, even if he had never elsewhere re-
buked them. Yes, he who, before Christ came, had addressed them


IV.18 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 353

with, This people loveth me with their lips, but their heart is removed far
from me,i
was now bringing up against them their ancient obsti-
nacy. But for this, how out of character it was that a new god, a
new Christ, the bringer of the light of this new and great religion,
should pronounce obstinate and disobedient those of whom he
could have had no possible experience!

18. [Luke 7.] Likewise in his commendation of the centurion's
faith, it is not likely that the statement that he had not found so
great faith even in Israel should have been made by one to whom
Israel's faith was of no concern. Nor could it become his con-
cern from then onwards, that a faith which was still immature
—not to say non-existent—should receive from him either ap-
probation or preference. But, <you object> why might he not
have used for an illustration faith in a different god? Because in
that case he would have said that such great faith had never
existed in Israel, whereas what he did say was that he ought
to have found so great faith in Israel: for he had come in expecta-
tion of finding it, being Israel's God and Israel's Christ, and would
not have criticized it except as one who had the right to demand
it and search for it. An opponent would have preferred to find it
as he did find it, for he would have come rather with a view to
weakening and destroying it, not so as to approve of it. He also
raised to life the widow's dead son. Not a novel piece of evidence.
The Creator's prophets had done this: how much more his Son.
Until that very moment Christ had made no suggestion of any
other god—so much so that all who were there rendered glory
to the Creator, saying that A great prophet is risen up among us, and,
God hath visited his people. Which god? Evidently he to whom that
people belonged, and by whom prophets had been sent. Now
since those people glorified the Creator, and Christ who heard
and knew it did not correct them when they honoured the Creator
for this great testimony of a dead man raised to life, without
doubt we must either admit he was the messenger of no other
god than the God he did not object to them honouring on
account of the benefits and miracles he himself had wrought: or
we must ask how it was that for all that time he tolerated their
error, when his coming was for this precise purpose, of curing their
error. But John is offended when he hears of Christ's miracles—
because, <you suggest>, he belongs to the other <god>. I however


IV.18 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 335

shall first explain his reason for offence, so that I may the more
easily show up the offence of the heretic. When the Lord of hosts
himself was by the Word and Spirit of the Father working and
preaching upon earth, it was necessary that that apportionment
of the Holy Spirit which, after the manner of what was measured
out to the prophets, had in John had the function of preparing
the ways of the Lord, should now depart from John, having been
drawn back again into the Lord, as into its all-inclusive head-
spring.1 And so John, being now an ordinary man, one of the
multitude, was offended, as indeed a man might be: not because
he was hoping for, or thinking of, a different Christ—for he had
no ground for such a hope—since he was teaching and doing no-
thing new. No man can have doubts about one who he knows does
not exist, and of whom therefore he entertains neither hopes nor
understanding. John however, both as Jew and as prophet, was
quite sure that no one is God except the Creator. Evidently it is
easier to think that his doubts were concerned with one whose
existence he was convinced of, but was not sure whether this was
he. So it is in this fear that John asks, Is it thou who earnest, or do we
look for another?—
a simple inquiry whether he whom he was look-
ing for had come. Is it thou who contest—that is, who art to come:
or do we look for another—that is, is there another whom we are
expecting, if thou art not he whose coming we expect? For he
had hopes—and all were thinking on those lines—arising out of
the similarity of the evidences, that possibly for the meanwhile
a prophet had been sent, and that it was a different one from
him, a greater one, the Lord himself, whose coming was expected.
And in fact that John's being offended consisted in this, that he
was not sure whether that same one had come whom they were
expecting, that one whom they ought to have recognized by the
works prophesied of him, appears from the fact that the Lord
returned answer to John that it was by those same works that
he ought to be recognized. And since it is agreed that these were
prophesied with respect to the Creator's Christ—as I have proved
in regard to each of them—it is worse than ridiculous that he

18. 1 That the ancient prophecy ceased, not only with John, but in John
himself, has become to Tertullian almost a commonplace: de orat. 1. 2; de
bapt.
10. 5; adv. Jud. 8. 14; de praesc. haer. 8. 3. In this he follows Justin, dial. 51,
52 (on Jacob's blessing of Judah), 57 (on Isaiah 11: 1-3, where he says 'shall
rest upon him' means 'shall come to an end with him', i.e. 'shall in his time
reach their limit').


IV.18 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 357

should have sent back the answer that a Christ not the Creator's
was the interpretation of those signs by which he was the rather
urging his recognition as the Christ of the Creator. It is even more
ridiculous if a Christ who is not John's bears witness to John,
giving assurance that he is a prophet, yea even more, a sort of
angel, affirming that it is even written of him, Behold I send my
angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way:a
for in kindly fashion
he recalls the prophecy to the former mind of John who is now
offended, so that by thus assuring John his precursor that he
has really come he may extinguish the doubt involved in that
question, Is it thou who earnest, or do we look for another? For as the
precursor had now completed his task, and the Lord's way was
prepared, he himself must be understood to be the one for whom
the precursor had done service. Greater indeed is he than all that
are born of women: but the reason why he is less than the least
in the kingdom of God is not that there is a kingdom of one of
the gods in which every least person is greater than John, and
a John of another god who is greater than all born of women.
For whether it is that he speaks of some particular least person
because of humility, or that he speaks of himself because he was
taken to be less than John, in that all men were pouring out into
the wilderness to John rather than to Christ—What went ye out
into the wilderness to see?—
in either case it has reference to the
Creator, first that it is his John who is greater than men born of
women, and again that it is either Christ or every least person
who is to be greater than John in that kingdom which no less
is the Creator's, and is even now greater than that great prophet
because he has not been offended at Christ—for this it was that
made John little. Concerning forgiveness of sins I have already
spoken. The story of that sinful woman will have this in point, that
when she kissed our Lord's feet, and watered them with her tears,
and wiped them with her hair, and covered them with ointment,
it was a true and actual body that she handled, and not an
empty phantasm: and that, as might be expected with the Creator,
a sinful woman's repentance won for her pardon, for he is wont
to prefer it to sacrifice. Also, since the urge to repentance had
proceeded from faith, it was through repentance justified by faith
that she heard the words, Thy faith hath saved thee, from him who
had already declared by Habakkuk, The just shall live by reason of
his faith.b


IV.19 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 359

19. [Luke 8: 1-21.] That certain wealthy women accompanied
Christ, and ministered to him of their possessions, and among
them the wife of the king's steward, is taken from prophecy. For
these it was whom he called to him through Isaiah: Ye wealthy
women, arise and hear my voice,
showing them to be disciples first,
and afterwards workers and assistants: ye daughters in hope, hear
my words: remember the day of the year, with labour in hope,
the labour
with which they followed him, and ministered to him because of
hope. No less concerning parables, let it once for all suffice to
have proved that this species of discourse was promised by the
Creator. But next, that pronouncement of the Creator to the
people, With the ear ye shall hear, and shall not hear,a has frequently
given Christ occasion to insist, He that hath ears, let him hear—
not as though through opposition Christ was giving back the
hearing which the Creator had taken away from them, but
because rebuke had to be followed by exhortation. First, With the
ear ye shall hear and shall not hear:
afterwards, He that hath ears, let
him hear.
Those who had ears were themselves responsible for
their not hearing: though he was showing them that ears of the
heart are necessary, and it was with these that the Creator had
said that they would not hear. And so through Christ he adds,
Take heed how ye hear, and do not hear, because they heard with
the ear and not with the heart. If you attach its proper meaning
to this admonition, according to the mind of him who was exhort-
ing them to hear, even when he said Take heed how ye hear, he was
issuing a threat to those who were not prepared to hear. Look
how your god is making a threat—so very kind that he neither
judges nor is angry. My point is proved by the sentence next
following: To him that hath, shall be given: but from him that hath not
shall be taken away even that which he thinketh he hath.
What is it will
be given? Increase of his faith, or even understanding, or perhaps
salvation itself. What is it will be taken away? Evidently that
which will be given. By whom will it be given and taken away?
If it is to be taken away by the Creator, by him also it will be
given. If it is to be given by Marcion's god, by him also it will
be taken away. Yet on whichever reckoning he threatens to take
it away, it will not come from that god who is unable to threaten
because he is unable to be angry. Also I wonder how one can talk
about a lamp never being hidden, who through all those long
ages had hidden himself, a greater and more essential light: and


IV.19 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 361

how he can promise that all things secret shall be made manifest,
when he is all the while keeping his god in darkness, waiting I
suppose for Marcion to be born. We come now to the standing
argument of all those who bring into controversy our Lord's
nativity.1 He himself, they say, affirms that he has not been born
when he says, Who is my mother and who are my brethren? In this
way heretics are always, by their theories, wresting plain and
simple expressions in any direction they please, or else, on sup-
position of simplicity, giving a general meaning to expressions
based on special conditions and particular reasons, as on the
present occasion. We on the contrary affirm, first, that there
could have been no report brought to him that his mother and
his brethren stood without, desiring to see him, if he had had no
mother or brethren, and if he who brought the message had not
known who they were, either by previous acquaintance or by
having then and there been informed, either when they asked
to see him or when they themselves sent the messenger. To this
first submission of ours our adversaries' usual answer is, What
then if the message was brought with the purpose of tempting
him? But the scripture does not say so, though its custom is to
indicate when anything is done for temptation's sake—Behold a
doctor of the law stood up, tempting him,b
and in that question about
tribute-money, And there came to him pharisees, tempting himc—and
consequently, where it makes no mention of temptation, it does
not admit of its being interpreted as temptation. For all that,
though I have no need to, I demand the reasons for such tempta-
tion, in what respect they can have tempted him by the mention
of his mother and his brethren. If because they wished to know
whether he had been born, or not—had there ever been any doubt
of this, which they could resolve by means of that temptation?
Yet who could have any doubt of the birth of one who he saw
Was a man, whom he had heard declare himself the Son of man,
who in consideration of all his human attributes they hesitated
to believe was God, or the Son of God? They found it easier to
esteem him a prophet, some great one no doubt, but one in any
case who had been born. Even if there had been reason to tempt
him by investigating his nativity, any other means would have

19. 1 Cf. de carne Christi 7, in controversy with Apelles. The question, 'Who is
my mother and my brethren?', not recorded by St. Luke, was taken over by
Marcion from Matt. 12: 48 and Mark 3: 33.


IV.19 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 363

been more in keeping with such temptation than the mention
of those relations whom, in spite of having been born, he might
by that time have lost. Tell me, does everybody who has been
born, have a mother still living? Does everybody who has been
born, have brothers born to him as well? Is it not more likely
that people have their fathers living or their sisters, or even no
one? Also it is well known that a census had just been taken in
Judaea by Sentius Saturninus, and they might have inquired of
his ancestry in those records.2 Thus in no respect has this sug-
gestion of temptation stood up to examination, and it really was
his mother and his brethren who stood without. It remains for
me to ask what he had in mind when in some figurative manner
he used the words, Who is my mother, or my brethren?, giving the
impression of denying both relationship and nativity—yet
arising from the requirements of the situation and conditional
upon a reasonable explanation. It was that he was rightly dis-
pleased that while strangers were within, intent upon his words,
such near relations stood without, and what is more, sought to
distract him from his appointed work. This was not so much a
denial as a disavowal. And consequently, after his first remark,
Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?, he added, Those only who
hear my words and do them,
thus transferring those titles of relation-
ship to others, whom he should judge more closely related to him
by their faith. Now no one makes a transference except from
one already in possession of that which is transferred. If then he
made to be his mother and brethren those who were not, in what
sense did he deny those who were? Evidently on conditions of
their own deserving, not from denial of those close relations, giving
in himself an example of his own teaching, that he who should
put father or mother or brethren before the word of God was
not a worthy disciple.d For the rest, the admission that they were
his mother and his brethren was even more clearly expressed by
this refusal to acknowledge them. By adopting others he confirmed
those whom through disfavour he denied, and the substitution
was not of others more real but of others more worthy. In any
case it is not surprising that he preferred faith to blood-relationship,
when <as Marcion will have it> he had no blood.

19. 2 C. Sentius Saturninus, consul 19 B.C., afterwards proconsul of Africa (Ter-
tullian, de pallio 1), legate of Syria 9-6 B.C., is often mentioned by Josephus.
Only Tertullian connects him with the Judaean census of Luke 2:1.


IV.20 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 365

20. [Luke 8: 25-48.] Now who is this, that commands even the
winds and the sea? Some new ruler, perhaps, and impropriator
of the elements which have belonged to that Creator who is now
subdued and dispossessed? By no means. Those elements had
recognized their author, even as they had of old been accustomed
to obey his servants. Look at Exodus, Marcion: see how Moses'
rod gave orders to the Red Sea, a much greater matter than all
the ponds in Judaea, so that it was split to the bottom, was made
firm with equal amazement on either side, and by a route through
its midst let the people pass through on dry feet: and again at
the command of the same rod its nature returned, and the flowing
together of the waters overwhelmed the Egyptian host. To that
Work also the south winds gave service.a Read how for the divid-
ing off of one tribe by lot there was a sword at their crossing of
Jordan,b after Joshua had clearly enjoined its current from above
and below to stand still as the prophets passed over. What say
you to this? If Christ belongs to you, you will not find him more
powerful than these servants of the Creator. Now I might have
wen content with these instances, but that a prophecy of this
actual walking upon the sea had anticipated Christ's action.
When he crosses the sea, there is a psalm being fulfilled, The
Lord is upon many waters.c
When he scatters its waves, Habakkuk
is being fulfilled, Scattering the waters by his passage.d When at his
rebuke the sea is stricken down, Nahum too is made complete,
He rebuketh the sea and maketh it dry,e along with those winds, of
course, by which it was disquieted. By what evidence will you
have me prove that Christ is mine? By the Creator's acts or by
his prophets? Come now, you who suppose the prophecy was of
a militant and armed warrior, not as a figure or an allegory of
fine who on a spiritual battlefield, with spiritual armour, was to
wage spiritual war against spiritual enemies: when you find in
tine single man a multitude of devils, who call themselves a legion,
evidently a spiritual one, learn from this that Christ too must be
understood to be he who in spiritual armour and as a spiritual
warrior is an overthrower of spiritual enemies, and so it was he
who was also to contend with the legion of demons: and thus it
will become evident that of this war the psalm declared, The Lord
strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.f
For when he did battle
with the last enemy, which is death,g he triumphed by the trophy
of the cross. But of which god did the legion testify that Jesus is


IV.20 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 367

the son? Surely, of that God whose torments and abyss they al-
ready knew and feared. For it does not seem that they can still
have been unaware of what the power of that new and un-
known god was accomplishing on earth, since it is not at all
likely that the Creator was unaware of it. For even if he had at
one time been unaware of another god over above himself, now
at least he had become aware of him in action beneath the
Creator's own heaven: and what their Lord had become aware
of must by now have become known to his whole body of servants
in that same world and within that same circuit of heaven in
which that extraneous divinity was engaged. In as much then
as both the Creator and everything that was his, would have
known of that extraneous divinity if it had existed, by so much,
seeing it did not exist, the demons were aware of no other Christ
than the Christ of their own God. They do not request of that
other god that which they must have remembered they had to
request of the Creator, to be excused the Creator's abyss. Thus
they obtained their request. And how did they earn it? Was it
because they had lied, because they had made him out the son
of the cruel God? Yet who can this have been, who granted
a boon to liars, and bore with his own traducers? No, it was
because they had not h'ed, because they had known him for the
God of the abyss, their own God, that in this way he gave assur-
ance that he was he whom the demons had acknowledged him
to be, Jesus the judge, the son of God the avenger. Next we ob-
serve in Christ a trace of those pettinesses and infirmities of the
Creator. For I too am content to attribute ignorance to him.
Let me do so, to oppose the heretic. He is touched by the woman
with an issue of blood, and does not know by whom. Who touched
me?
he asks. Even when the disciples suggest a reason he persists
in his expression of ignorance: Somebody hath touched me: and con-
firms this by proof: For I have perceived that virtue is gone out of me.
What says the heretic? Did Christ know who it was? Then why
did he speak as though in ignorance? Surely it was to elicit her
confession, and take proof of her fear. In this way he had in
former time looked for Adam, as though in ignorance, Adam
where art thou?
You have also the Creator excused along with
Christ, and Christ put into equality with the Creator. But this
too, <you object>, as an opponent of the law: because the law sets
a barrier against contact with a woman with an issue of blood,h


IV.20 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 369

for that very reason he was intent not merely to permit her
touching of him but even to grant her healing. Here is a god,
kind not by his own nature but through opposition to another.
And yet, if we find that the woman's faith had deserved it so,
When he says, Thy faith hath saved thee, who are you, that you
should discover hostility to the law in that act which the Lord
himself indicates was performed as the reward of faith? But you
wish to make out that the woman's faith was just this, that she
had held the law in contempt. Yet who can believe that a woman
with as yet no knowledge of any <second> god, the initiate as yet
of no new law, should make a breach in that law to which she
was still bound? By what faith did she break it? Through belief
in which god? In contempt of which god? The Creator? Sure
is that she touched him because of faith. If faith in the Creator,
because she had no knowledge of another god, did she in any
respect make a breach in his law? Her breaking of it, if she did
break it, arose from faith in the Creator. Yet how can both things
be true, that she both broke the law, and broke it because of
that faith for the sake of which she ought not to have broken it?
I shall explain. Her faith was, in the first place, this by which she
trusted that her God preferred mercy even to sacrifice, by which
she was assured that that God was at work in Christ, by which
she touched him, not as a holy man, nor as a prophet, who she
would know was because of his human substance capable of
defilement, but as God himself, whom she had assumed to be
incapable of pollution by any manner of uncleanness. In this way
she was not in error in interpreting for herself that law which
indicated that those things contracted defilement which were
capable of defilement: but not God, who she was confident was
in Christ. And moreover she had this in mind, that the injunction
in the law is concerned with that ordinary and customary flux
of blood at menstruation or childbirth, which proceeds from
natural functions—not such as proceeds from ill health. She how-
ever had an issue caused by ill health, for which she knew she
had need not of any period of time, but of the aid of divine mercy.
Thus she can be seen not to have broken into the law but to have
made a distinction. This will be a faith which also conferred under-
standing: Unless ye have believed, it says, ye shall not understand.i
Christ, while approving of the faith of this woman who believed


IV.21 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 371

in the Creator and no other, replied that he himself was the God
of that faith of which he approved. Nor shall I leave this unsaid:
that when his garment is touched, and a garment is put upon a
body, not on a phantasm, there is proof also that he had a body—
not as though this were our present subject, but because it has a
bearing on our present inquiry. For if there had been no veritable
body, a phantasm, being an unsubstantial object, could not have
contracted defilement. If then because of his unsubstantial charac-
ter he is incapable of defilement, why should he have wished <for
an explanation>? If <he did this> as an enemy of the law, he was
being deceitful, for he was not really contracting pollution.

21. [Luke 9: 1-26.] He sends out the disciples to preach the king-
dom of God. Has he indicated here at least, which God? He
forbids them to take for the journey anything for food or clothing.
Who could have given this command, but he who feeds the
ravens and clothes the flowers of the field, who of old gave orders
that the ox treading out the corn must have unmuzzled mouth,
as licence to filch fodder from his labour—because the labourer
is worthy of his hire? Let Marcion delete such matters, so long
as their meaning is preserved. But when he tells them to shake
off the dust from their feet against those who have given them
no reception, this too he says must be done for a testimony. Now
no one makes testimony of a matter which is not proposed for
judgement: when he orders unkindness to be brought under
attestation, he is holding out the threat of a judge. That it was
no new god that Christ commended was also made quite clear
by people's general opinion, in that Herod was assured by some
that Christ Jesus was John, by others Elijah, by others some one
of the old prophets. Whichever of these he might have been, he
was certainly not raised up again so that after resurrection he
might preach some other god. He feeds the people in the wilder-
ness, after his ancient custom. If there is not the same impressive-
ness, then on this occasion he is inferior to the Creator, who not
for one day but for forty years, not with earthly provisions of
bread and fish, but with manna from heaven, prolonged the lives
not of about five thousand, but of six hundred thousand men. Yet
in this respect it was the same impressiveness, that following the
ancient precedent he desired that that slender provision should not
merely suffice but have some to spare, So also at a time of famine


IV.21 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 373

in Elijah's day the last small provisions of the widow of Zarephath
by the prophet's blessing continued abundant through all the
time of famine:a you have it in the third of Kingdoms. If you
also turn to the fourth, you will find the whole of this activity of
Christ in the case of that man of God to whom were brought ten
loaves of barley: and when he had ordered them to be distributed
to the people, and his servitor, comparing the number of the
people and the smallness of the provision, had answered, What,
should I set this before an hundred men ?,
he replied, Give, and they shall
eat, for thus saith the Lord, They shall eat, and shall leave remainders ...
according to the word of the Lord.b
Even in new things Christ is as
of old. Peter, who had seen these doings and compared them with
the ancient things, perceived that they were not only events of
time past but were even then prophecies for the future: so that
when our Lord asked who they thought he was, and Peter
answered on behalf of them all, Thou art the Christ, he cannot have
Supposed him a novel Christ, but only the one he knew in the
scriptures and was now observing in deeds. This <answer> he
himself confirms—even until now he is content with it: he con-
firms it even when he enjoins silence. For if Peter was not in a
position to affirm that he was any other than the Creator's, and
Christ himself gave orders that they were to tell no man of this,
evidently he was unwilling for Peter's supposition to be published
abroad. Quite so, you say: because that supposition was incorrect,
and he did not wish a lie to be spread abroad. But it was another
reason he gave for silence: that the Son of man must suffer many
things, and be rejected by the elders and scribes and priests, and
be slain, and after three days rise again. And since these things too
were prophesied of the Creator's Christ, as I shall fully explain in
their proper places, in this way too he proves himself to be that
one of whom they were prophesied. Certainly even if they had
not been prophesied, the reason he gave for commanding silence
was not one which proved Peter mistaken: it was the call to under-
go sufferings. Whosoever, he says, will save his life shall lose it, and
whosoever shall lose it for my sake, will save it.
Assuredly it was the
Son of man who pronounced this judgement. Do you too then,
in company with the king of Babylon look into his burning fiery
furnace, and you will find there one like unto a son of manc
he was not yet actually that, not yet having experienced human


IV.21 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 375

birth—as early as that setting forth this course of action. He saves
the lives of the three brethren who agreed together to lose
them for God's sake, but has destroyed the lives of the Chaldeans
who preferred to keep them safe by worshipping the idol.
Where is that newness you speak of in a doctrine of which these
are ancient instances?—Indeed there is also a series of prophecies
both that there will be martyrdoms, and that they will receive
from God their reward. Behold, says Isaiah, how the righteous
perisheth, and no man taketh it to heart, and righteous men are taken away,
and no man considereth.d When does this more truly take place than
in the persecution of his saints?—Surely it is no simple <death>,
or one by the law of common nature, but that noble death in
fighting for the faith, in which he who loses his life for God's
sake preserves it: so that here at least you may see you have
a Judge, who rewards an evil gaining of life by the losing of
it, and a good loss of life by its salvation. To me also he shows
himself a jealous God, who returns evil for evil: Whoso shall be
ashamed of me, he says, of him will I also be ashamed. Yet ground for
shame does not attach to any Christ but mine, whose whole life
was so much a matter of shame that it lies exposed even to the
taunts of heretics, who with all the malice they are capable of
complain endlessly of nothing but the squalor of his birth and
babyhood, and even the indignity of his flesh. But that Christ of
yours, what fear is there of anyone being ashamed of him, when
he himself no cause for it? He was not conceived in a womb—
not even a virgin's, though a virgin is a woman, and even though
there were no male seed, yet by the law of corporal substance <he
would have been formed> from a woman's blood—he was never
reckoned to be flesh before he was formed, nor was he called a
foetus after his shape was complete; he was not set free after ten
months' torment, nor was he spilt upon the ground through the
sewer of a body, with a sudden attack of pains along with the
uncleanness of all those months, nor did he greet the daylight
with tears or suffer his first wound at the severing of his cord: he
was not washed with balm, nor treated with salt and honey, nor
did swaddling-clothes become his first winding-sheet: no question
thereafter of his wallowing in uncleanness in a mother's lap, of
his nuzzling at her breasts, of a long infancy, a tardy boyhood,
of waiting for manhood: no, he was brought to birth out of heaven,


IV.22 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 377

at once full-grown, at once complete, Christ with no delay, spirit
and power and god—and nothing more. So then, as he was no
true <man>, for <his manhood> was not visible, likewise he had
nothing for men to be ashamed of in the curse of the cross, for he
was devoid of the truth of it, being devoid of body. So it cannot
have been your Christ who said, Whoso shall be ashamed of me. It
must have been our Christ who used this expression, he who was
made by the Father a little lower than the angels;e a worm and no
man, a very scorn of men and the outcast of the people;f because
so it pleased him, that by his bruise we should be healed,g and in
his dishonour should our salvation stand firm. So with good cause
did he bring himself low on behalf of man whom he had made,
on behalf of his own, not another's, image and similitude: so that
as man had not been ashamed when worshipping stone and stock,
he might with equal courage not be ashamed of Christ, and thus
by the shamelessness of faith might make satisfaction to God for
the shamelessness of idolatry. Which of all this applies to your
Christ, Marcion, as a thing deserving of shame? Clearly, of yourself
he should be ashamed, for your having invented him.

22. [Luke 9: 28-36.] This in particular you have reason to be
ashamed of, that when he withdraws into the mountain you per-
mit him to be seen in the company of Moses and Elijah, though
he had come as their overthrower. This you suggest was the in-
tended meaning of that voice from heaven, This is my beloved Son,
hear him—
that is, not Moses and Elijah any longer. In that case
the voice was sufficient, without putting Moses and Elijah on
display, since by stating clearly whom they must hear he would
have forbidden their hearing any others whatsoever. Or else
perhaps he allowed their hearing Isaiah and Jeremiah, if the
prohibition applied only to those in actual view. As things are,
even if their presence was essential, they need not just for that
reason have been revealed in conversation, which is an indication
of companionship, nor as sharing in his glory, which is an instance
of his condescension and grace; but in some sort of squalor, or
even in the Creator's darkness which he had been sent to disperse;
certainly far removed from the glory of that Christ who was in-
tending to cut off from his own gospel their speeches and even
their writings. Is this the way he shows they are strangers to
him, by having them with him? Is this the way he teaches us to


IV.22 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 379

repudiate them, by linking them with himself? Is this the way
he overthrows them, by arraying them in his own brightness?
What more could their own Christ have done? I suppose, by
way of perversity he could have given them the appearance which
Marcion's Christ ought to have given them—or else have had
with him any you like, except his own prophets. But the Creator's
Christ, what should he rather do than bring into evidence along
with himself those who had told of him beforehand? than be
seen in company with those by whom he had been seen in revela-
tions? than speak with those who had spoken of him? than
share his glory with those by whom he was named the Lord of
Glory, with those officers of his, one of whom had of old been the
informer of his people, the other afterwards to be its reformer,
the one the beginner of the Old Testament, the other the finisher
of the New?1 So it is with good reason that Peter also, because of
their inseparable connection with him, recognizes who his Christ's
companions are, and offers the suggestion, It is good for us to be
here—
good to be, evidently, where Moses and Elijah are—and
let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee and one for Moses and one
for Elijah,
but not knowing what he said. How 'not knowing' ? Was
it by a mere mistake? or was it for the reason by which we, in
our argument for the new prophecy, claim that ecstasy or being
beside oneself is a concomitant of grace?2 For when a man is in
the spirit, especially when he has sight of the glory of God, or
when God is speaking by him, he must of necessity fall out of
his senses, because in fact he is overshadowed by the power of
God—on which there is disagreement between us and the natural
men. Meanwhile it is easy to prove that Peter was beside himself.
For how could he have known who Moses and Elijah were, except
in the spirit—for the Jewish people could have had no pictures
or statues of them, since the law also forbids similitudes—how,
unless because he had seen them in spirit? And so it was not
possible for him to know what he had said when in the spirit,
and not in his <natural> senses. Otherwise, if 'he did not know'
means that he was mistaken in thinking that this was the Christ
of Moses and Elijah,—consequently it is already evident that

22. 1 On the expected return of Elijah, along with Enoch, to inaugurate the
new covenant, de anima 35 and 50, and Irenaeus, A.H. v. v. 1.
2 For the suggestion that St. Peter, 'not knowing what he was saying', was
in an ecstasy, cf. adv. Prax. 15.


IV.22 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 381

a little earlier, when Peter was asked by Christ whom they con-
sidered him to be, his answer Thou art the Christ, meant 'the
Creator's Christ': because if he had then been aware that he
belonged to that other god, he would not have made a mistake
here either. But if he was mistaken here because mistaken pre-
viously, in that case be assured that until that very day no new
deity had been revealed by Christ, and even until then Peter had
not been in error, seeing that even until then Christ made no
such revelation: and that all that time Christ could not be sup-
posed to belong to any other than the Creator, to whose whole
course of action he has here also given expression. He takes with
him three from among the disciples as witnesses of the vision and
the words that are to be. This too belongs to the Creator: In
three witnesses,
he says, shall every word be established." He withdraws
into a mountain: I recognize his normal place, for it was in a
mountain that both by vision and by his own voice the Creator
had first instructed his ancient people. It was necessary that the
new covenant should receive attestation in a high place such as
the old covenant had been written in, and beneath the same cover-
ing of a cloud—and no one can doubt that this was condensed
out of the Creator's air, unless perhaps he had brought his own
clouds down thither, because he had himself forced a way through
the Creator's heaven: or perhaps he only borrowed the Creator's
fog for his own use. Likewise even now the cloud was not silent,
but there is the accustomed voice from heaven, and the Father's
new testimony concerning the Son. He who had said, in the first
psalm, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten theeband of him also
<he speaks> by Isaiah, Who is it that feareth God, and heareth the
voice of his Son?—
so when he now declares him present, saying,
This is my Son, there is at once understood, Whom I have promised.
For if at one time he made a promise, and then afterwards says,
This is, the use of the presenter's voice in pointing to the thing
promised belongs to him who formerly made the promise, not to
one to whom answer couid be made, But who are you yourself,
to say, This is my son, when you have no more made previous
announcement of him than you have given indication of your own
previous existence? Listen then to him whom from the beginning
the Creator had commanded them to hear. He calls him a pro-
phet, for as a prophet he was to be regarded by the people.
A prophet, Moses says, shall God raise up unto you of your sons—by


IV.22 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 383

carnal origin, he means—ye shall hear him as though hearing me:
and every one that heareth him not, his soul shall be cut off from among his
people.d
So also Isaiah: Who is there among you that feareth God?
Let him hear the voice of his Son.e
This voice the Father himself
would some time commend, for it says, Establishing the words of
his Son,f
by saying, This is my beloved Son, hear him. So that even
though there has been a transference made of this hearing from
Moses and from Elijah to Christ, this is not as from one god to
another god, nor to a different Christ, but by the Creator to his
own Christ, in accordance with the demise of the old covenant
and the succession of the new: Not a delegate, says Isaiah, nor a
messenger, but God himself shall save them,g
now in his own person
preaching, and fulfilling the law and the prophets. So the Father
has put into the Son's charge the new disciples, by first displaying
Moses and Elijah along with him in his excellence of glory, and
thus granting them release, as having at length fully discharged
their office and dignity—so that for Marcion's benefit confirma-
tion might be given of this very fact, that there is even a sharing
of Christ's glory with Moses and Elijah. We find also in Habakkuk
the complete outline of this vision, where the Spirit speaks in the
person of the apostles sometime to be, Lord, I have heard thy hearing
and was afraid.h
What hearing, other than of that voice from
heaven, This is my beloved Son, hear him? I considered thy works
and was astounded.h
When else than when Peter saw his glory, and
knew not what he said? In the midst of two living creatures, Moses and
Elijah, thou shalt be known.h Of these also Zechariah had a vision
in the figure of the two olive trees and the two branches of the
olive: for these are they of whom he heard it said, Two sons of
richness stand by the Lord of the whole earth.i
And once more, Habak-
kuk again, His virtue covered the heavens, with that cloud, and his
glory will be as the light,j
the light with which even his garments
glistered. And if we call to mind the promise to Moses, here it
will be seen fulfilled. For when Moses asked to have sight of the
Lord, and said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, manifest thyself
to me, that I may knowledgeably see thee,k
what he looked for was that
aspect in which he was to live his human life, which as a prophet
he was aware of—but God's face, he had already been told, no
man shall see and live—
and God answered, This word also which thou
hast spoken, I will do it for thee.
And again Moses said, Shew me thy
glory:
and the Lord answered, concerning the future, as before, I


IV.23 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 385

will go before <thee> in my glory, and what follows. And at the end,
And thou shall see then my later parts, not meaning his loins or the
calves of his legs, but the glory he had asked to see, though it was
to be revealed to him in later times. In this glory he had promised
to be visible to him face to face, when he said to Aaron, And if
there shall be a prophet among you, I shall be known to him in a vision,
and shall speak to him in a vision, not as to Moses: to him I shall speak
mouth to mouth, in full appearance,
the full appearance of that man-
hood which he was to take upon him, and not in an enigma.l For
even if Marcion has refused to have him shown conversing with
the Lord,3 but only standing there, even when standing he stood
mouth to mouth with him, and face to face, as it says, not outside
of him, looking towards the glory that was his, and of course in
full view. So at his departure from Christ he retained the light of
that glory precisely as he did at his departure from the Creator:
as then he dazzled the eyes of the children of Israel, so now he
dazzles the eyes of blinded Marcion, who has failed to see how
this evidence tells against himself.

23. [Luke 9: 41-62.] I take upon me the character of Israel. Let
Marcion's Christ stand and cry, O faithless generation, how long
shall I be with you, how long shall I bear with you?
He will at once
have to listen to me when I say, Whosoever you are, you that are
to come,1 first tell us who you are, from whom you come, and
what rights you have over us. Until this moment all that you
have is the Creator's. Clearly, if you come from him, and are
acting for him, we consent to the reproof. But if you come from
another, I would have you tell us what of yours you have ever
entrusted to us which called for our belief: then you may upbraid
our unbelief, though not even yourself have you ever revealed to
us. How long ago did you begin to act among us, to justify that
complaint of 'how long' ? In what respects have you borne with
us, so as to charge us with your patience? Like Aesop's ass, as
soon as you come out of the well you begin to bray. I take upon
me next the cause of the disciples, upon whom he has come
down hard: O faithless nation, how long shall I be with you, how long

22. 3 Marcion excised the second half of Luke 9:31 ('and spake of his decease').

23. 1 'Eperxo&menoj, 'he that cometh' (cf. infra, 25. 7), was apparently taken up
by Marcion from the Baptist's question at Luke 7:19 and used as a catchword
with reference to his Christ's second advent.


IV.23 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 387

shall I bear with you? This outburst of his I should with complete
justice cause to recoil, in these terms: Whosoever you are, you
that are to come, first tell us who you are, from whom you come,
and what rights you have over us. Until this moment, I imagine,
you belong to the Creator, which is why we have followed you,
because we recognized in you all those attributes that are his.
So that if you come from him, we consent to your reproof. But
if you are acting for another, tell us, pray, what you have ever
entrusted to us of your own, which we ought by now to have
believed: then may you rebuke our unbelief: until this very
moment you neglect to say who is your principal. But how long
ago was it you began to act among us, so as to count the time
against us? In what matters have you borne with us, so as to
boast of your patience? An ass out of Aesop's well has lately
appeared among us, and already begins to bray. Would anyone
riot have made the injustice of the rebuke recoil in these terms, if
he believed that <Christ> belonged to <a god> who had as yet no
right to complain? Yet not even he would have come down hard
Upon them, if he had not of old time held converse among them
in the law and the prophets, and in mighty works and good deeds,
and always found them unbelieving. But see, <you say>, Christ
loves the little ones, and teaches that all who ever wish to be
the greater, need to be as they; whereas the Creator sent bears
against some boys, to avenge Elisha the prophet for mockery he
had suffered from them. A fairly reckless antithesis, when it sets
together such diverse things, little children and boys, an age as
yet innocent, and an age now capable of judgement, which knew
how to mock, not to say, blaspheme. So then, being a just God,
he did not spare even boys when disrespectful, but demanded
Honour to old age, and more particularly from the younger: but
as a kind God he loves the little ones to such a degree that in
Egypt he dealt well with the midwives who guarded the child-
bearing of the Hebrews, which was in peril through Pharaoh's
edict.a So here too Christ's disposition agrees with the Creator's.
But now for Marcion's god, who is opposed to matrimony: how
can he be taken for a lover of little ones? The whole reason for
these is matrimony. One who hates the seed must of necessity
detest its fruit. Yes, even more savage must he be held to be than
the Egyptian king. Pharaoh indeed did not permit the infants
to be suckled: Marcion's god forbids them even to be born,


IV.23 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 389

depriving them even of those ten months' life in the womb. Yet
how much easier it is to believe that affection for little ones should
be reckoned an attribute of him who by blessing matrimony for
the propagation of the human race, has by this blessing made
promise also of the fruit of matrimony, which is first concerned
with infancy. The Creator, at Elijah's demand, brings down a
plague of fire upon that false prophet.b I take note of a judge's
sternness: and on the contrary of Christ's gentleness when re-
proving the disciples as they call for the same punishment upon
that village of the Samaritans. Let the heretic also take note that
this gentleness of Christ is promised by that same stern Judge:
He shall not strive, it says, nor shall his voice be heard in the street:
a bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench.c
Such a one was even less likely to burn men up. For even in
Reference to Elijah in his day, it says, The Lord was not in the fire
but in a gentle spirit.d
And next, why does this god, full of human
kindness, not accept the person who thus offers himself to him
as an inseparable companion? If because it was in pride or from
hypocrisy he had said, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest, it
follows that by judging that pride or hypocrisy ought to be re-
flected, he showed himself a judge: and in fact he did bring con-
demnation upon the man he refused, since he was not to attain
to salvation. For just as he calls to salvation him whom he does
not refuse, or even the one he himself invites, so he condemns to
destruction the one he refuses. But when to the man who has made
the excuse of his father's burying he gives the answer, Let the dead
bury their own dead, but do thou go and proclaim the kingdom of God,
he
has given manifest confirmation to both of these Creator's laws:
the one concerning the priesthood in Leviticus, which forbids
the priests even to be present at their parents' obsequies—Upon
every soul departed,
it says, the priest shall not enter in, even upon his
father he shall not become defilede
and the one concerning <nazirite>
vows in Numbers, for there too him who has vowed himself to
God he commands, among other things, not to enter in upon
any soul departed, not even his father's or mother's or brother's:f
and I suppose it was for the <nazirite> vow and for the priesthood
that he intended this man whom he had begun to prepare for
preaching the kingdom of God. If that is not the case, he must
be judged undutiful enough who without the intervention of any
legal cause gave orders that sons must neglect their fathers' burial.


IV.24 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 391

Also when he tells that third person not to look back, the man who
was thinking first to bid farewell to his own people, he is follow-
ing out the Creator's ruling: he too had told those not to look back,
whom he had rescued out of Sodom.g

24. [Luke 10: 1-20.] He chooses other seventy apostles also, over
above the twelve: for to what purpose twelve, after that number
of wells in Elim, without adding seventy, after that number of
palm-trees?a Antitheses for the most part are produced by diver-
sity of purposes, not of authorities, though he who has not kept
in view the diversity of purposes has easily been led to take it for
diversity of authorities. When the children of Israel set out from
Egypt the Creator brought them forth laden with those spoils of
gold and silver vessels and clothing, as well as the dough in their
kneading-troughs, whereas Christ told his disciples to carry not
even a staff for their journey.b It was because the former were
being moved out into the wilderness, but the latter were being sent
into cities. Consider the purposes in hand, and you will perceive
that there was one and the same authority, who arranged the pro-
visioning of his people differently according to poverty or plenty,
cutting it down when there would be abundance in the cities, pre-
cisely as he gave full supply when there was to be scarcity in the
wilderness. The former he forbade even to carry shoes: for he it
was under whom not even in the wilderness during all those years
did the Israelites wear out their shoes. Salute no man, he says, by
the way:
look at Christ, your destroyer of the prophets, from whom
he copied this, among much else. When Elisha sent his servant
Gehazi on a journey to raise up again from death the son of the
Shunamite woman, I take it he gave him these instructions:
Gird up thy loins and take my staff in hand, and go: whomsoever thou
shall meet on the way, bless him not—
that is, give him no salutation:
and if any bless thee, give him no answercthat is, do not return his
greeting. For what is this blessing in the midst of journeys, except
exchange of salutations upon meeting? So also our Lord told
them into whatsoever house they entered, to speak peace to it.
He follows the same precedent: for this too was the order Elisha
gave, that when he came into the Shunamite's house, he was to
say to her, Peace to thy husband, peace to thy son.d These shall be the


IV.24 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 393

antitheses we prefer, such as bring Christ into line <with the
Creator>, not such as make him separate. But the labourer is
worthy of his hire:
who has better right to say this than God the
Judge? For this very act is an exercise of judgement, to pronounce
the labourer worthy of his hire. Every grant of reward is based
upon some exercise of judgement. So here too the Creator's law
receives attestation, when he judges that even working oxen are
labourers worthy of reward: Thou shalt not, he says, muzzle the ox
when it is threshing.
Who is this so bountiful towards men? He
Surely who is also bountiful towards cattle. And as Christ also
declares that labourers are worthy of their hire, he sets in a good
light that injunction of the Creator about taking away the
Egyptians' vessels of gold and silver. For those who had built
for the Egyptians houses and cities were certainly labourers
worthy of their hire, and the instruction given them was not for
robbery but for recovering the equivalent of their wages, which
they could not exact in any other way from those who were lords
over them. That the kingdom of God was neither a novelty nor
till then unheard of he affirmed again in these terms, by ordering
the proclamation that it was come near. That which has some-
time been far off, this it is that can be said to have come near:
whereas if it had never existed in the past before coming near,
that which had never been far off could not be said to have come
near. Everything novel and unknown is also unexpected. Every-
thing which when it is announced is unexpected, then for the
first time puts on a visible form and then first becomes present,
past, or future. But for that, it can neither in the past have been
delayed, so long as there was no announcement of it, nor can it
nave come near since the announcement of it began. He also
added that they were to say to those who had not received them,
But know this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh. If this injunction
is not given by way of threat, it is given to no purpose at all: for
what concern was it of those people that the kingdom was coming
nigh, except that its approach is with judgement and for the
salvation of such as had welcomed its proclamation? In this way,
if there can be no threatening without subsequent action, you
have in him that threatens a God who takes action, and a judge
in either case. So also he says the dust must be shaken off against


IV.24 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 395

them, for a testimony—those bits of their land that cleave to
them, not to say all further communication. For if inhumanity
and inhospitality are to receive from him no punishment, why
does he begin with that attestation, which certainly involves
threatenings? Moreover, seeing that in Deuteronomy the Creator
too forbids Ammonites and Moabites to be received into the
congregation,e because when the people were come out of Egypt
they with inhumanity and inhospitality deprived them of pro-
visions, from this it will be clear that the prohibition of inter-
course found its way from him to Christ, with whom it takes the
form, He that despiseth you despiseth me. This also the Creator said
to Moses, They have not despised thee but me.f For Moses was an
apostle, just as much as the apostles were prophets: the authority
of these two offices must be regarded as equal, as proceeding
from one and the same Lord of both apostles and prophets. Who
is it now will give the power of treading upon serpents and scor-
pions? Is it to be the Lord of all living creatures, or he who is
not even the god of a single lizard? Well it is that the Creator
through Isaiah has promised this power even to very little chil-
dren, to thrust their hand into the hole of the asp and into the
den of the brood of the asps, and not be hurt at all. And in fact
we know—without rejecting the literal meaning of scripture, for
not even wild beasts have had power to hurt when faith has been
there—that figuratively by scorpions and serpents are indicated
the spiritual hosts of wickedness, whose prince also is represented
under the name of snake and dragon and every most notorious
evil beast, in the scriptures of the Creator, who granted this power
to his previous Christ,1 as the ninetieth psalm says to him, Thou
shalt go upon the asp and the basilisk, the lion and the dragon shalt thou
tread underfoot.g
So also Isaiah: In that day shall the Lord draw forth
his sword, holy, great and strong—
meaning, his Christ—against that
dragon, the great and crooked serpent, and shall slay him in that day.h
And when Isaiah also says, It shall be called a pure way and a holy
way, and the unclean thing shall not pass over it, and there shall not be there
an impure way, but they that shall have been scattered shall walk therein
and shall not err, and there shall no longer be a lion there, nor shall any-
thing from among the evil beasts go up into it, nor shall it be found there,i
since that way indicates the faith by which we shall come to God,

24. 1 Priori Christo suo: i.e. the real Christ, not the one Marcion says is still to
come to restore the Jewish kingdom.


IV.25 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 397

evidently it is to that same way, which is faith, that he promises
the driving away of wild beasts and the subjection of them. Lastly,
you could find, if you were to read what goes before, that the
times of the promise are in agreement: Be strong, ye weak hands and
ye feeble knees: . . . then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the
ears of the deaf shall hearken: then shall the lame man leap as an hart,
and the tongue of the dumb shall be clear.j
So when he had told of
benefits of healing, then it was that he put scorpions and serpents
under subjection to his saints: and this was he who had first
received from his Father this authority so as to grant it also to
others, and now made it manifest in the order the prophecy had
foretold.

25. [Luke 10: 21-8.] Can any be called upon as Lord of heaven,
without being first shown to be the maker of it? For he says, I
thank thee, and give praise, O Lord of heaven, because those things which
were hidden from the wise and prudent, thou hast revealed unto babes.
What things? and whose things? and by whom hidden? and by
whom revealed? If by Marcion's god they have been hidden and
revealed—since he had never provided anything in which things
could have been hidden, neither prophecies nor parables nor
visions, nor any evidences of events or words or names adumbrated
in allegories or figures of speech or the clouds of enigma, but had
hidden even his own greatness, and was only then in process of
revealing it through Christ, this is unfair enough. What sin had
the wise and prudent committed that there should be hidden from
them that god whom their wisdom and prudence had not been
sufficient to enable them to know? No way had been provided
by any works that told of him, no footprints even, by which wise
men and prudent might have been guided to him. And yet even
if they had in some respect been at fault regarding a god unknown,
suppose him just now become known, yet there was no reason
for them to find him a jealous god, for he is introduced as of
opposite character to the Creator. Consequently, seeing he had
made no provision of materials in which he could have hidden
something, nor had been dealing with offenders from whom he
ought to have hidden it, nor had the right to hide things even if
he had been dealing with such offenders, it follows that he can
never be the revealer of things, because he has never been the


IV.25 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 399

hider of them, and in that case is neither the lord of heaven nor
the father of Christ: but rather he is, who satisfies all these
conditions. For he has hidden things by first setting forth a docu-
ment of prophetic obscurity, such as faith might earn the right
to understand—for Unless ye believe, ye shall not understanda—and
counted the wise and prudent guilty because, when God could
have been known of from all those mighty works,b they neglected
to seek after him or even vainly philosophized against him,
providing the heretics with devices: and so at long last he is a
jealous God. And in fact, this that Christ thanks God for, he
long ago preached of by Isaiah: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and will hide the prudence of the prudent.c
In another place too he
indicates that he has both hidden things, and will reveal them,
And I will give them the hidden treasures, and will open for them <treasuries>
invisible.d
And again, Who else shall frustrate the signs of the ventri-
loquists, and their divinations out of the heart, turning the wise men back-
wards and making their cogitations foolish ?e
Also, if he has appointed
his Christ a giver of light to the gentiles, I have set thee for a light
of the gentilesf
and these we understand under the name of 'babes',
for formerly they were small in understanding, and infants by
lack of prudence, but now also are little by the humility of faith—
we shall find it easier to believe that the same God has also by
Christ revealed things to babes, who aforetime kept them hidden,
and promised that by Christ there would be a revelation. Else, if
it is Marcion's god who has laid open those things which formerly
were kept hidden by the Creator, in that case he has done service
to the Creator by explaining his concerns. But, you object, this
was for his undoing, so as to bring them to light. In that case it
was his duty to bring them to light for those from whom the
Creator kept them hidden, the wise and prudent. For if he was
doing this from kindness, knowledge needed to be granted to those
to whom it had been denied, not to those babes from whom the
Creator had withheld nothing. And yet even at this point, I
suppose, we prove that in Christ there is to be seen the building
up of the law and the prophets, and not the pulling down of them.
He says all things are delivered to him by his Father. You can
believe this, if Christ belongs to the Creator to whom all things
belong, because the Creator has not delivered all things to the
Son as to one less than himself: for by the Son, who is his own
Word, he created them all. But if Christ is 'he that doth come',


IV.25 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 401

what are those 'all things' that are delivered to him by the Father?
The Creator's things? Then those are good things which the
Father has delivered to the Son, and good too is that Creator
whose 'all things' are good, and that other one is not good who
has broken in upon another's goods so as to deliver them to his
son. If he teaches men to keep their hands off what is another's,
he is certainly in extreme poverty in having nothing to enrich
a son with except what is another's. Or, if nothing of the Creator's
has been delivered to him by his father, by what right does he
lay claim to the Creator's man? Or else, if it is only man who has
been delivered to him, then man is not 'all things'. But the scrip-
ture says that delivery of all things has been made to the Son.
Also, if you are going to interpret 'all things' as 'all races of men',
meaning all the gentiles, these too it is the Creator's prerogative
to have delivered to his Son: I will give thee the nations for thine
inheritance, and the bounds of the earth for thy possession.g
Or again, if
your god has some few things of his own, so as to deliver them all
to his son at the same tune as the Creator's man, out of all these
point out one single thing, for a pledge, for a sample: otherwise
I shall with as complete justification refuse to believe that 'all
things' belong to him to whom I do not see anything belonging,
as with good cause I shall believe that even the things I do not
see, belong to him whose are the whole world of things which I
do see. But, No man knoweth who the Father is, but the Son, and who
the Son is, but the Father, and he to whomsoever the Son shall reveal him.
And thus it was an unknown god whom Christ preached. From
this sentence other heretics1 too take for themselves support,
objecting that the Creator was known to all men, to Israel be-
cause they were his particular friends, to the gentiles by the law
of nature. Yet how is it that the Creator himself testifies that even
Israel does not know him? But Israel doth not know me, my people
hath not understood me.h
Nor do the gentiles: For behold, he says, no
man, even from the gentiles.i
For which reason he has reckoned them
a drop in a bucket, and has deserted Sion like a watch-tower
in a vineyard.j See then whether there be confirmation of the
prophetic voice which rebukes that human ignorance towards
God which has extended even to the Son. For his reason for

25. 1 The 'other heretics' will be those of the gnostic sects in general, who all of
them postulated a god unknown and unknowable, whom their Christ told
them of, without making him known.


IV.25 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 403

inserting the statement that the Father is known by that man to
whom the Son has revealed him, is that it was he himself who
was proclaimed as set by the Father as a light of the gentiles, and
that they were to receive light concerning God, the God of Israel,
and this by virtue of a fuller acknowledgement of God. So then,
evidences which are capable of applying to the Creator can never
serve as testimony to another god on the ground that those which
do not apply to the Creator can serve for testimony to another
god. If you look at the words which follow—Blessed are the eyes
that see the things which ye see: for I tell you that the prophets have not
seen the things that ye see—
they follow on from the previous thought,
that so true is it that no man has known God as men should,
that not even the prophets had seen the things which became
visible under Christ. For if he had not been my Christ he would
not at this point have put in evidence any mention of the pro-
phets: for what wonder was it that they had not seen the evidences
of an unknown god, one revealed after all those ages? Also where
could have been the felicity of those who were then seeing things
which those others with good cause had not been able to see, in
that they had not obtained the actual presence of things which
they had never even preached of, except that those who had the
power to see those effects of the God who was no less their God,
things they had also preached of, had for all that never seen them?
This then must have been the felicity of those who were seeing
things which others had only preached of. In short we shall prove,
have already proved, that in Christ those things have been seen
which had been prophesied of, yet had been hidden even from
the prophets, and consequently were hidden also from the wise
and prudent of the world. In the gospel of truth a doctor of the
law approaches Christ with the question, What shall I do to obtain
eternal life?
In the heretic's gospel is written only 'life', without
mention of 'eternal', so that the doctor may have the appearance
of asking for advice about that life, that long life, which is promised
by the Creator in the law,k and the Lord may then seem to have
given him an answer in terms of the law, Thou shall love the Lord
thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy
strength,
because the question asked was about the law of life.
But a doctor of the law certainly knew already on what terms
he could obtain that legal life, and so would not have asked
questions about a life which he himself taught the rules of. But


IV.26 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 405

it was because the dead were already being raised up by Christ,
that this man, raised up to the hope of eternal life by these in-
stances of life restored, and fearing that this nobler hope might
entail something more in the way of conduct, therefore asked for
advice about eternal life and the obtaining of it. And so our Lord,
being himself no other than he always was, introduces no other
new commandment, but only that which above all else pertains
to the whole of salvation, both to this life and the other, and sets
before him the actual content of the law, that of loving the Lord
his God in all possible ways. And again, if the consultant's ques-
tion and Christ's response were concerned with that long life
which is under the Creator's control, and not with eternal life
which is under the control of Marcion's god, how does he obtain
eternal life? Certainly not on the same terms as the long life,
because the difference in the rewards demands belief in a difference
of the work to be done. And therefore your Marcionite will not
obtain eternal life as a result of loving your god, as he who loves
the Creator will obtain a long life. And if our God is to be loved,
who promises a long life, surely he is even more to be loved who
offers life eternal. It follows then that to the same God belongs
both this life and that, since the same rule of conduct must be
followed for both the one life and the other. What the Creator
enjoins, we need Christ to grant us that that be loved: for even
here that general rule obtains, that it is easier to believe that
greater things are to be found with him in whom smaller things
set the precedent, than with him from whom there have been no
smaller things to prepare for faith concerning things greater. It
is by now no matter if our people have added 'eternal'. For me
it is enough that that Christ of yours, who calls men not to a
long life but to eternal life, when asked for advice about the long
life which he was putting an end to, did not instead exhort the
man to the eternal life which he was introducing. What, I ask
you, would the Creator's Christ have done, if he who had given
the man instruction on how to love the Creator, was not himself
the Creator's? He would have said, I imagine, that the Creator
must not be loved.

26. [Luke 11: 1-28.] When he had been praying in a certain
place, to that higher-class father, looking up with eyes above
measure presumptuous and audacious towards the heaven of that


IV.26 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 407

Creator by whose sternness and savagery he could easily have
been struck down by lightning and hail—even as at Jerusalem
he can have been crucified by him—one of his disciples approached
him and said, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples,
because, as you will have it, he thought a different god must
needs be prayed to in different terms. Anyone who makes this
assumption first needs to prove that it was a different god that
was brought to light by Christ. No man would have desired to
know how to pray, without having previously got to know whom
he was to pray to. If then that disciple already knew this, prove
it. As however even to this moment you prove nothing of the
kind, take it from me that what he asked for was a form of prayer
to that Creator to whom also John's disciples addressed their
prayers. But seeing that John too had introduced a kind of new
order of prayer, for this reason Christ's disciple had good reason
to assume that he must make this request of him, so that they
too might in their own Master's own appointed way make their
prayer to God—not a different god, but in a different manner.
And again, <if it were a question of a different god>, neither would
Christ have granted the disciple knowledge of the prayer with-
out first telling him. who that god was. So it follows that the prayer
which Christ taught was addressed to the same God whom the
disciple already knew. Again, take note of which God the terms
of the prayer suggest. Whom shall I address as Father? Him who
has had nothing at all to do with the making of me, and from
whom I in no sense take my origin, or him who by making me
and fashioning me became my begetter? Whom shall I ask for
the Holy Spirit? Him by whom not even mundane spirit is con-
veyed to me, or him who even makes his angels spirits, and whose
own Spirit at the beginning was borne upon the waters? Shall I
pray for the kingdom to come, of him who I have never been
told is the king of glory, or of him in whose hand are even the
hearts of kings? Who is it will give me daily bread? Shall it be
he who creates for me not so much as a grain of millet, or he
who provided his people even with the daily bread of the angels
from heaven? Who is it will forgive my sins? He who by not
judging does not retain them, or he who, if he does not forgive,
will retain, that he may judge? Who is it will not let us be led
into temptation? He whom the tempter has no call to be afraid
of, or he who since the beginning of the world has held under


IV.26 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 409

condemnation the angel who became a tempter? Any man who
in such terms as these makes request to another god, and not the
Creator, is not praying to him, but insulting him. Again, from
whom shall I ask, that I may receive? On whose property shall I
seek, that I may find? At whose door shall I knock, that it may
be opened to me? Who is it has anything to give to him that
asks, except him whose are all things, whose also am I who am
asking? What is there I have lost on the ground of that other god,
that of him I should seek it and find it? If you say wisdom and
prudence—these are things the Creator has hidden, and of him
I shall seek for them. If you say salvation, and life, these too I
shall ask of the Creator. Nothing can be sought for in hope of
finding, except in that place where it has lain hidden, and so may
come to light. So again I shall knock at no other door than that
from which I was driven away. Also, if receiving and finding and
obtaining admission are the fruit of toil and persistence on the
part of the man who has asked and sought and knocked, take note
that these are duties enjoined and rewards promised by the
Creator. That supremely good god of yours, coming without being
asked, to grant gifts to the man who is not his own, could not
have demanded of him either toil or persistence: for he would
not have been supremely good if he did not spontaneously give
to one who was not asking, make provision for one to find who
was not seeking, and open to one who was not knocking. The
Creator however was in a position to give such injunctions through
Christ, to the intent that because man by sinning had offended
his own God, he might toil, and by persistence in asking might
receive, by persistence in seeking might find, and by persistence
in knocking obtain admission. With that in view, the parable
that comes before this represents that man who at night asks for
bread, as a friend, not a stranger, knocking at the door of a friend,
not of one unknown. Now man, even if he has offended, is more
the friend of the Creator than of Marcion's god: and so he knocks
at the door of him to whom he has the right to come, whose door
he can easily find, who he knows has the bread, who is now in bed
with those children whose birth was to his liking. Even that he
knocks late at night—the tune belongs to the Creator: the late
hour belongs to him. whose are all the ages, and the sunset of the
ages. At this new god's door no one would have knocked late at
night: he is only just waking up into daylight. It was the Creator


IV.26 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 411

who long ago shut up against the gentiles that door at which the
Jews long ago were knocking: he it is who rises and gives, if not
yet as to a friend, at any rate not to an entire stranger, but, as it
says, because he is troublesome. But 'troublesome' is what a god
lately arrived could not in so short a time have found any man
to be. Acknowledge then as your Father the God you refer to as
the Creator. He it is who knows what his sons are in need of.
When they asked for bread he gave them manna from heaven,
and when they were in want of flesh-meat he sent out the quail-
mother, not a serpent instead of a fish, nor a scorpion instead of
an egg. Now to abstain from giving evil instead of good will be
within the competence of him to whom both belong: whereas
Marcion's god, who does not possess a scorpion, was not in a
position to say he would abstain from giving a thing he did not
possess. Such a statement can be made by one who has a scor-
pion but does not give it. Likewise also the Holy Spirit will be
given by him who has under his control the spirit which is not
holy. When he had driven out the deaf devil—so as in this form
of healing also to come into agreement with Isaiaha—and it had
been alleged that he cast out devils through Beelzebub, he asks,
If I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? By
this question what else does he suggest than that he casts them out
by the same means by which their sons do? The power, that is, of
the Creator. For if you suppose the sentence must be read, If I cast
out devils by Beelzebub by whom your sons cast them out, as though
he were upbraiding them for casting out devils by Beelzebub,
the preceding observation will tell against you, that Satan cannot
be divided against himself. Consequently neither did they cast them
out by Beelzebub, but, as I have said, by the power of the Creator:
and so as to cause this to be understood he adds, But if I by the
finger of God drive out devils, is not then the kingdom of God come near
against you?
For in the case of Pharaoh those magicians whom he
brought into action against Moses referred to the power of the
Creator as the finger of God.b The finger of God was this which
indicated something quite small, yet exceeding strong. In proof
of this, Christ, who does not destroy the records of his own acts
of long ago, but reminds men of them, spoke of God's power
as the finger of God, which they must understand was the power
not of any other god, but of him in whose scriptures it was so


IV.27 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 413

described. It follows also that the kingdom which had come near
was of that God whose power was referred to as his finger. With
good reason, therefore, with his parable of the strong man armed,
whom another stronger than he overcame, did he connect the
prince of the devils, whom he had previously called Beelzebub
and Satan, indicating that by the finger of God he had been over-
come, not that the Creator had been suppressed by some other
god. If this last had been the case, how could the Creator's king-
dom still be standing, with its own boundaries and laws and
functionaries, when, even if the world remained intact, it could
have seemed that that stronger god of Marcion had overcome
him at least in this, that Marcionites did not continue to die, in
accordance with his law, dissolving into <his> earth, and learning
often even from the scorpion that the Creator has not been over-
come? A woman from the multitude cries out, that blessed was
the womb that had borne him, and the breasts which had given
him suck. And the Lord answers, Yea rather, blessed are they that
hear the word of God, and keep it:
because even before this he had
rejected his mother and his brethren, because he prefers those who
hear God and obey him. For not even on the present occasion
was his mother in attendance on him. It follows that neither on
the previous occasion did he deny having been born. So now,
when he hears this once more, once more he transfers the blessed-
ness away from his mother's womb and breasts and assigns it to
the disciples: he could not have transferred it away from his
mother if he had had no mother.

27. [Luke 11: 29-52.] I propose in some other connection to
prove that the faults the Marcionites allege against the Creator
are no faults at all: enough for the present that they are found in
Christ. He too is changeable, variable, capricious, teaching one
thing, doing another: he tells them to give to everyone that asks,
but himself gives no sign to those who do ask. All those long ages
he has hidden his light from men, though he says a lamp ought
not to be put in a corner, but insists that it must be set on a lamp-
stand so as to give light to all. He forbids the return of cursing
for cursing,a not to mention taking the initiative in it, yet hurls
his Woe against the pharisees and doctors of the law. Is there any
Christ so like my God as his own Christ? I have now more than


IV.27 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 415

once insisted that he could by no means have been stigmatized as
a destroyer of the law, if it had been a different god he was pro-
claiming. And so here, the pharisee who had invited him to
dinner was considering within himself why he had not washed
before sitting down: that was the law, and Christ was upholding
the God of the law. But Jesus gave him an explanation of the
law, saying that though those people cleansed the outsides of
cup and vessel their inward parts were full of robbery and iniquity.
Thus he made it clear that in God's sight cleanness of vessels is
to be taken to mean cleanness of men: for in fact the pharisee
had been discussing with himself about a man, not a cup, that
was left unwashed. So he says, Ye make clean the outside of the cup,
meaning the flesh, but ye do not make clean your inward parts,
which is the soul: and he adds, Did not he that made the things that are
without,
the flesh, also make the things that are within, the soul? By
saying this he clearly indicated to them that cleanness of both the
outer and the inner man is the concern of one and the same God,
for to him both belong, and he prefers mercy not only to a man's
washing of himself, but even to sacrifice. For he adds a rider, Give
alms of those things which ye have, and all things will be clean unto you.
Even if it is possible for that other god to have commanded mercy,
yet he cannot have done it before he became known. Moreover
here too it is shown that they were under criticism not as regards
the God <they thought they served> but as regards the moral
law of that God who demanded of them figuratively cleanness of
vessels, but in open fact works of mercy. So also he rebukes them
for tithing pot-herbs, but passing over vocation and the love of
God. Which God's vocation and love? His surely by the rule of
whose law they were offering as tithes both rue and mint. For
the sum of his remonstrance was this, that they were taking care
about trivial things, and were doing so for him for whom they
were doing no service of greater things, though he said, Thou
shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and
with all thy strength, the God that called thee out from Egypt.b
But for
this, the time would not have permitted that Christ should
demand of them so immature, nay rather so unripe, an affection
for a new god lately arrived—not to say, not yet openly revealed.
Also when he complains of their seeking after primacy of place and
the honour of salutations, he is putting into action a judgement


IV.27 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 417

of the Creator, who calls princes of this sort rulers of Sodom,c

and moreover forbids people to put their trust in their superiors,
and what is more declares that that man is above all things
miserable who sets his hope on man.d But if the reason for a man's
seeking after high position is the desire to glory in other men's
services, he who has forbidden this sort of services, of hoping and
putting confidence in man, has thereby rebuked those who seek
after high positions. He attacks even the doctors of the law, be-
cause they burdened others with burdens grievous to be borne,
which they themselves lacked courage to approach even with
one finger. In saying this he is not criticizing the burdens of the
law, as one who denounces it. How can he have been a denouncer,
when at that moment he was accusing them of passing over the
more important things of the law, almsgiving and vocation and
the love of God? Not even these weighty things <did he denounce>,
far less tithings of rue and cleanness of vessels. Else he would have
judged them excusable, if they had been unable to bear things
unbearable. But what are the burdens he censures? Those which
they piled on of their own, teaching for precepts the doctrines
of men, for the sake of their own convenience joining house to
house so as to take away what was their neighbour's, exhorting
the people, loving gifts, seeking after rewards, laying waste the
judgements of the needy, so that the widow might be to them for
a spoil, and the fatherless for a prey.e Of these again Isaiah says,
Woe to them that are mighty in Jerusalem:f and. again, They that make
demands of you are lords over you.g
Who make more demands than
the doctors of the law? And if these were also displeasing to
Christ, it was as his own that they displeased him: the doctors of
some one else's law he would never have made an attack on. But
why have they to listen to that Woe even because they built up
memorials to those prophets whom their fathers had destroyed?
Surely they were the rather worthy of praise, as by this work of
pious affection they testified that they did not assent to the deeds
of their fathers: except that Christ was jealous—the sort the
Marcionites have in disrepute—visiting the sins of the fathers
upon the children even to the fourth generation. And what was
that key of knowledge the doctors of the law held, if it was not
the interpretation of the law? To the understanding of it neither


IV.28 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 419

did they themselves draw near, because, he means, they did not
believe—for unless ye believe, ye shall not understandhnor did they
let others in, because in fact they preferred to teach the precepts
and doctrines of men. So then, is he who upbraided those who
neither themselves entered in nor afforded access to others, to be
regarded as a disparager of the law or an upholder of it? If
a disparager, then those who put restrictions on the law ought to
have won his approval: if an upholder, then he is not hostile to
the law. But, you object, all this he brought up against them with
intent to put the Creator in a bad light, as being stern, and such
that upon those at fault against him the woe would come. Yet
who would not rather be afraid to incense that stern one by defect-
ing from him? So by insisting that he is to be feared Christ so
much the more taught them to seek his favour. And that is what
you would expect the Creator's Christ to do.

28. [Luke 12: 1-21.] And so it was with good reason that he
disapproved of the hypocrisy of the pharisees, who loved God
with their lips and not with their heart. Beware, he says to the
disciples, of the leaven of the pharisees, which is hypocrisy, not the
preaching of the Creator. The Son hates these who show insolence
to his Father: it is against him, not against another, that he would
not have his disciples so behave. Against that other, hypocrisy
might perhaps have been permitted, and still have served as a
warning for the disciples to beware of. It is in this sense that he
rejects the example of the pharisees: he was forbidding the com-
mission of that offence against the God against whom the pharisees
committed it. Therefore when he had censured that hypocrisy of
theirs, which hid the secrets of their heart, and overshadowed with
superficial services the hidden things of unbelief, that hypocrisy
which held the key of knowledge but neither entered in itself nor
allowed others to enter, thereupon he added, But there is nothing
covered that shall not be revealed, and nothing hid that shall not be known.
Let no one suppose that by this he indicates the revealing and
making known of a god previously unknown and kept hidden,
when his suggestion is that even those things about which they
murmured and discussed among themselves—when for example
they said concerning him, This man driveth not out devils but by
Beelzebub—
would come forth into the open and be found on the


IV.28 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 421

lips of men, following upon the publishing of the gospel. After
that he turns to his disciples and says, But I say unto you my friends,
Be not afraid of them that can only kill you, and after that have no further
power upon you—
but Isaiah will be seen to have already told them
this, See how the righteous is taken away, and no man observeth ita
But I will shew you whom to fear: fear him who after he hath killed hath
power to send into hell—
indicating, no doubt, the Creator—and so
I say fear him.
At this point it could be sufficient for my purpose
if by ordering him to be feared he indicates that he must not be
affronted, and by indicating that he must not be affronted he
orders them to seek his favour, and so he who gives these com-
mands belongs to that same God on whose behalf he requires
this fear and avoidance of affront and seeking of favour. But I
can deduce it from what follows: For I say unto you, Whosoever shall
confess me before men, I will confess him before God.
So that those who
confess Christ will have to be put to death in the presence of men,
and will of course have nothing more to suffer from them after
being put to death. These then will be they whom he begins by
warning not to fear being put to death and nothing more: for
he first says this about not fearing being put to death, so as to
continue with his command to uphold the confession: And who-
soever shall deny me before men will be denied before God—
denied by
him who if he had confessed would have confessed him. For as he
is to confess him that confesses, he it is also who will deny him
that denies. Moreover if it is the confessor who has nothing to
fear after the killing, it will be the denier who has something to
fear even after death. It follows then that if that is the Creator's
concern which is to be feared after death, the penalty of hell,
then the denier too is the Creator's concern. But if this is true
of the denier, it is true also of the confessor, who after being killed
will have no more to suffer from man, though evidently he would
have to suffer from God if he became a denier. And so Christ
belongs to the Creator, since he indicates that deniers of himself
have to fear the Creator's hell. So after this warning against
denial there follows also an admonition to stand in dread of
blasphemy: Whosoever shall speak against the Son of man, it shall be
forgiven him; but whosoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall
not be forgiven him.
Now if both the forgiveness and the retention
of a sin involve the suggestion that God is a judge, then his will


IV.28 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 423

be that Holy Spirit who must not be blasphemed, for it is he who
will not forgive the blasphemy, even as just now that Christ was
his who must not be denied, because he it is who will put the
denier to death in hell. But if, as is the case, Christ averts blas-
phemy from the Creator, I cannot see in what sense he has become
an adversary to him. Or else, if by these sayings he indicates
disapproval of his severity, as that he will not forgive blasphemy
and will even put some to death in hell, we are left with this, that
the spirit of that opponent god may be blasphemed with impunity,
and his Christ denied, and that it makes no difference whether
he be worshipped or despised, because as there is no penalty for
despising him, so from the worship of him there can be no hope
of any reward. Those brought before the authorities for examina-
tion he forbids to think beforehand of their answer: For the Holy
Spirit,
he says, will teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say. As the
Creator possesses evidence of this sort, his too will be this precept,
for the pattern of it has been already set. Balaam the prophet,
in Numbers,b was summoned by king Balak to curse Israel, with
whom he was going into battle: at once he was filled with the
Spirit, and pronounced not the curse for which he had come,
but the blessing which the Spirit in that very hour put into his
mouth: for he had already testified before the king's messengers,
and soon afterwards before the king himself, that what God
should put into his mouth, that he would speak. So much for
your new doctrines of your new Christ—doctrines which the
Creator's servants long ago made a beginning of. Look again how
evidently the example of Moses is the opposite of Christ's. When
two brethren quarrel, Moses without being asked steps between
them and rebukes him that does the wrong: Wherefore smitest thou
thy fellow?,
and is rejected by him: Who made thee a master or a judge
over us ?c
But when Christ was asked by a certain man to compose
the strife between himself and his brother over the division of
the inheritance, he refused his assistance, even in so honest a
cause. In that case my Moses is better than your Christ, for he
is concerned about peace between brethren, and takes action
against wrongdoing: whereas the Christ of your supremely good
god, who is not a judge, asks, Who has set me as a judge over you ? He
could find no other terms of excuse, to save him from using those
in which a dishonest man and his disaffected brother had shaken


IV.29 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 425

off the upholder of honesty and family feeling. In fact, by making
use of that ill expression he expressed approval of it, and of that
ill action, by declining to compose peace between those brothers.
Was it not rather that he disapproved of their driving Moses away
with those words, and therefore in the similar case of those brothers
at disagreement desired to put them to shame by calling that
expression to mind? Evidently so. For he had himself, as the
Creator's spirit, been present in Moses, and to him those words
were said. I think I have already in another connection sufficiently
proved that boastfulness of riches is condemned by our God,
who puts down the mighty from their seat and lifts up the poor
from the dunghill.d From him then will have come that parable
of the rich man who complimented himself on the produce of
his lands, to whom God said, Thou fool, this night shall they require
thy soul, and whose shall those things be which thou hast prepared?
In
the same way that king who boasted to the Persians of his precious
things and of the treasure-houses of his delights, heard hard words
<from God> through Isaiah.e

29. [Luke 12: 22-59.] Who is this that would have us not be
concerned for our life, in the matter of feeding, or for our body
in the matter of clothing? Surely he who has of old made pro-
vision of these things for man, and as he continually supplies us
with them does with good reason forbid concern for them, as a
challenge to his generosity. To the substance of the soul itself he
has given a value better than meat, and to the material of the
body a shape better than a garment: for his ravens neither sow nor
reap nor gather into storehouses, and yet receive nourishment
from him, whose lilies and whose grass neither weave nor spin
and yet are clothed by him: his Solomon too was of excellent
glory, yet was not better arrayed than one little flower. However,
there is nothing so easy as that one should make provision, and
a different one should command us not to be anxious about that
provision, even when the latter is a disparager of the former. If
indeed it is as a disparager of the Creator that he would have us
not take thought for the sort of trivialities for which neither ravens
nor lilies toil, because in fact for their little worth they come
naturally to hand, this will shortly appear. Meanwhile why does
he say they are of little faith? I mean, of which faith? That which


IV.29 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 427

they could not as yet show to god in its perfection, because he
was but lately revealed and they were just beginning to learn of
him ? Or that which on this very account they owed to the Creator,
their believing that he does of his own will grant the human race
full supplies of these things, and so ceasing to take thought about
them? For when he also adds, For these things do the nations of the
world seek after,
because of course they do not believe in God the
Creator and Provider of them all, this was a rebuke to those
whom he would not have to be like the gentiles, by being little
in faith towards that same God towards whom he marked the
gentiles as devoid of faith. But when he adds once more, But the
Father knoweth that ye have need of these things,
I must first inquire
whom Christ wishes them to understand by the Father. If he means
their own Creator, he thereby affirms the goodness of him who
knows what his sons have need of: but if he means that other
god, how does this one know that food and clothing are what
man has need of, when he has provided none of these? For if he
had known, he would have made provision. Or otherwise, if he
does know what things man has need of, but has made no pro-
vision of them, his failure to provide was due either to malice or
to incapacity. Now when he declared these things necessary for
man, he at once affirmed their goodness: for nothing that is evil
is necessary. So he cannot be taken for a disparager of the works
of the Creator or of his bounties—and with this I complete the
argument I just now deferred. But if it is another who has both
made provision for, and now supplies, the things he knows are
necessary for man, how is it that Christ himself promises them?
Or perhaps he is generous with another's property: for he says,
Seek ye the kingdom of God, and these things shall be added unto you.
Added by himself, he means. But if by himself, of what sort is he,
who proposes to supply us with what is another's? If by the
Creator, whose of course they are, who is this that promises what
another will give? If these are additions to the kingdom, to be
administered as a second step, then the second step belongs to
him to whom the first belongs, and the food and raiment belong
to him whose is the kingdom. So then the objective truth of the
parables, and the balanced statement of the similitudes, is the
Creator's promise in its fullness, for they have in view no other
than him to whom they will be found applicable in every detail.
Servants we are, for we have God for our Lord. We are to gird


IV.29 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 429

up our loins, which means, be freed from the entanglements of
this over-dressed and complicated life. Also we must have our
lamps burning, that is, our minds alight with faith and resplen-
dent with works of truth, and so be waiting for the Lord, that
is, for Christ. When he returns, where from? If from the wedding,
he must be the Creator's Christ, for the Creator approves of
marriage: if he is not the Creator's, not even would Marcion when
invited have gone to the wedding, out of regard for his own god
who disapproves of marriage. So the parable has broken down
in that lord and whom he stands for—or would do, if he had
not been one to whom marriage is no offence. Again in the
parable which follows one is badly astray who identifies with the
person of the Creator that thief by whom, if the householder had
known the hour of his coming, he would not have suffered his
house to be broken through. How can the Creator be taken for
a thief, when he is the Lord of every man? No one becomes a
thief, or a breaker-up, of his own property: the one who does
that, is he who has come down into another's property and is
taking man away from his Lord. But he means that the thief,
in our case, is the devil, and that if at the beginning the man had
known the hour of his coming he would never have been broken
in on by him: and therefore he tells us to be prepared, because
at an hour we think not the Son of man will come—not that he
is himself the thief, but the judge, certainly, of those who will
not have prepared themselves nor have taken precautions against
the thief. So then if he himself is the Son of man, I take him to
be a judge, and in the judge I lay claim to the Creator. If how-
ever it is the Creator's Christ he refers to here under the name of
Son of man, so as to suggest that he is that thief the time of whose
coming we know not, you have the rule I recently laid down,
that no one becomes a thief of his own property—saving always
this, that in so far as he represents the Creator as one to be
feared, to that extent he acts as his representative and belongs
to the Creator. And so when Peter asks whether he has spoken
this parable to them, or even to all, with reference to them and
to all who should ever be in charge of churches he sets out the
similitude of the stewards, of whom the one who in his lord's
absence has treated his fellow servants well will on his return be
put in charge of all his goods: but the one who has acted other-
wise will when his lord returns, on a day he has not reckoned for


IV.29 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 431

and at an hour he was not aware of,—and the lord is that Son of
man, the Creator's Christ, not a thief but a judge—be set on one
side, and his portion will be appointed with the unbelievers. It
follows then either that he is here setting before us the Lord as
judge, and is instructing us on his behalf: or else, if he means
that supremely good god, he here affirms that he too is a judge—
much as the heretic dislikes it. For they try to mitigate the mean-
ing here, when it is proved to apply to Marcion's god, as though
it were an act of peacefulness and gentleness merely to set him on
one side and appoint his portion with the unbelievers, as one
who has not been called to account but merely returned to his
own position. As if even this were not done by judicial process.
How silly! What shall be the end of those set on one side?
What but loss of salvation?—seeing they will be set aside from
those who are to obtain salvation. And what is the condition of
unbelievers? Is it not damnation? Else if those set on one side,
and those unbelievers, will not have anything to suffer, equally
by contrast those who are retained, along with the believers, will
get no reward. But if those retained, and those believers, are
to obtain salvation, it follows of necessity that this is what those
set aside, and the unbelievers, will lose. And this will constitute
a judgement, and he who proposes it belongs to the Creator. And
whom else shall I understand by him who beats the servants with
few or with many stripes, and requires from them in proportion
as he has entrusted to them, if not a God who repays? And whom
does he teach me to obey, if not a God who gives a reward? It is
your Christ who cries out, I am come to send fire on the earth. It is
your supremely good one, that lord who has no hell, he who
shortly before had restrained his disciples from calling down fire
upon an inhospitable village, whereas my <God> burned up
Sodom and Gomorra with a cloud of fire, and of him the psalm
says, There shall go afire before him and burn up his enemies,a and by
Hosea he uttered the threat, I will send a fire upon the cities of
Judaea
,b and by Isaiah, A fire is kindled from my indignation.c He
must be speaking the truth. If he is not the same who also sent
forth his voice from the burning bush, then what possible fire
can you claim he means? Even if it is a figure of speech, by the
very fact that he takes an element of mine, to present the thoughts
of his own mind, he is mine who makes use of mine. The metaphor


IV.29 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 433

of the fire must come from him whose is the veritable fire. He
will himself be found to give a better explanation of the character
of that fire when he proceeds, Suppose ye that I am come to send peace
on earth? I tell you, Nay: but division.
The book says, A sword:1, d
but Marcion corrects it, as though division were not the function
of a sword. So then, as he has not come for peace, by fire he
means the fire of overthrow. Like battle, like fire: like sword, like
Same: neither of them proper for <your> lord. Finally he says, The
father shall be divided against the son and the son against the father, the mother
against the daughter and the daughter against the mother, the daughter in
law against the mother in law, and the mother in law against the daughter
in law.
If for this battle between close relations the prophet's
trumpet has sounded in these same words, I suspect perhaps
Micah foretold it of Marcion's Christ.e And so he declared them
hypocrites, for examining the face of the sky and the earth, but
failing to discern that time, the time at which he ought to have
been recognized as fulfilling all the things which had been pro-
phesied against them, and teaching accordingly. And yet who
could have recognized the times of him to whom he had no means
of proving the times belonged? With good cause he rebukes them
for not judging of themselves what is just. Already he has given
this command, by Zechariah: Execute the judgement of justice and
peace:f
by Jeremiah: Execute judgement and righteousness :g by Isaiah:
Judge for the fatherless, justify the widow :h laying it to the charge
even of the vineyard of Sorech that it had not wrought judge-
ment but a cry.i He then who had formerly taught them to do
justice by commandment, was now demanding that they should
do it also by free choice. He who had sown the seed of command-
ment, was now pressing for abundant fruit of it. But now, how
unfitting that that god of yours should enjoin righteous judge-
ment, when he was engaged in overthrowing God the righteous
Judge. For even that judge who sends men to prison, and does
not bring them out until they have paid the last farthing, these
people explain in the person of the Creator, for disparagement
sake. This I am bound to oppose on the same ground: that every
time they quote against me the Creator's sternness, this is always
proof that Christ belongs to him for whom he demands obedience
by reason of fear.

29. 1 A lapse of memory. The sword comes from Matt. 10: 34; Luke 12: 53
has 'division'.


IV.30 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 435

30. [Luke 13: 10-28.] Again in what terms did he counter that
objection about a work of healing performed on the sabbath?
Doth not every one of you on the sabbath loose his ass or his ox from the
stall and lead him to watering?
Thus, by having done this work
according to the terms of the law, he did not break but confirm
the law, which commanded that no work should be done but
such as had to be done for every living soul—and how much more
for a human soul? In the matter of the parables, it is well under-
stood that I do in every case explain how apposite they are. The
kingdom of God, he says, is like a grain of mustard seed which a man
took and sowed in his own garden.
Whom must we understand in the
person of the man? Evidently Christ, because, even though he
be Marcion's Christ, he is described as the Son of man, who has
received from the Father the seed of the kingdom, which is the
word of the gospel, and has sown it in his garden, meaning the
world, and, if you like, on this occasion in a human being. But
since he has said in his own garden, while neither the world nor
that human being belongs to Marcion's god, but to the Creator,
it follows that he who has sown the seed on his own property is
proved to be the Creator. Otherwise if for the sake of escaping
this noose they divert the person of the man away from Christ
and apply it to a man who takes the seed of the kingdom and
sows it in the garden of his own heart, not even so can this matter
apply to anyone but the Creator. For how can it be that the
kingdom belongs to that most gentle god, when it is immediately
followed by the fire of judgement with its sternness and tears?
Of the second parable I do rather fear that perhaps it looks to the
kingdom of that other god: for he has compared it to leaven,
and not to that unleavened bread which is more usual with the
Creator. This surmise too suits the purpose of those who are
destitute of arguments. Consequently I in turn shall drive out
one fond conceit by another, and say that leaven as well is in
keeping with the Creator's kingdom, in that after it comes the
oven, and the furnace of hell. How very often has he already shown
himself as a judge, and, in the judge, as the Creator? How very
often does he eject people, and condemn them by this rejection?
So in the present instance, When the master of the household, he says,
is risen up—when? if not when Isaiah has said it, When he ariseth to
shake terribly the eartha—and hath shut to the door,
evidently to shut
out the unrighteous. And when they knock he will answer them,


IV.31 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 437

I know not whence ye are: and again when they tell the tale of how
they have eaten and drunk in his presence, and he has taught in
their streets, he will continue, Depart from me, all ye workers of
iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth:
where? outside,
of course, where those will be who were shut out when the door
was shut to by him. Thus from him there will be punishment
from whom comes that shutting out for punishment, when they
see the righteous entering into the kingdom of God, but themselves
kept outside. Kept out by whom? If by the Creator, who then is
to be inside, receiving the righteous into the kingdom? The good
god? What concern is it then to the Creator, to keep outside for
punishment those whom his adversary has shut out, when they
ought instead to have been accepted by himself, if you please,
to spite that adversary? However, that god of yours, who is going
to shut out the unrighteous, must either know or not know that
the Creator is going to keep them in detention for punishment.
Either then their detention will be against his will, in which case
he is inferior to him who detains them, and against his will lets
him have his way: or else, if he is willing for this to be done, he
himself has passed judgement that it was right for it to be done,
and will prove to be no better than the Creator, being himself in
approval of the Creator's iniquitous act. If in no sense the theory
will hold, that one <Christ> is supposed to punish and another to
set free, it remains that both judgement and kingdom belong to
one <Christ> only, and that so long as both belong to that one,
then he who passes judgement is the Creator's Christ.

31. [Luke 14: 12-24.] What sort of people does he say must be
invited to dinner or supper? The sort that he had told them of
by Isaiah: Break thy bread for the hungry, and the poor and such as have
no covering bring into thy housea
those in fact who have no means
of returning your hospitality. As Christ says that this return of
hospitality must not be sought for, but promises it at the resurrec-
tion, this follows the Creator's practice, who has no pleasure in
such as love gifts and follow after a reward. Consider also the
parable of the man who sent out invitations: to which of us is it
better suited? A certain man made a supper, and invited many. Evidently
the appointments of the supper signify the full satisfaction of


IV.31 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 439

eternal life. I remark first that total strangers, and persons bound
by no rights of relationship, are not as a rule invited to supper:
certainly it is easier to suppose those of the household are,
and near friends. So then it was for the Creator to have given
the invitation, since with him were connected those who received
it, both through Adam by ties of humanity, and through the
fathers seeing they were Jews: certainly not for that other, with
whom they were connected neither by nature nor by grant of
privilege. Again, if he who has prepared the supper sends to the
guests, on this account too it is the Creator's supper, for he has
sent to give notice to guests previously invited through the fathers,
but needing to have notice given them through the prophets: it
is not the supper of one who has never sent anyone to give notice,
and has done nothing before that by way of invitation, but has
himself suddenly come down, issuing his invitation while just
becoming known, collecting them up for the feast while just
issuing the invitation, and making the hour of the supper the
same as that of inviting them to it. Those invited begin to make
excuse. If invited by the other god, rightly so, as their invitation
was unexpected: if not rightly so, it was not unexpected. But if
their invitation was not unexpected, then it came from the
Creator from whom it came long before. For it was his invitation
they long ago declined, when for the first time they said to Aaron,
Make us gods to go before us;b and after that when they heard with
the ear, and did not hear, the invitation of God.c It was God also
who with close application to this parable spoke by Jeremiah:
Hear my voice, and I will be to you for a Lord and ye to me for a people,
and ye shall walk in all my ways whichsoever I shall command you.d
This was God's invitation. Yet, it says, they heard not, neither in-
clined their ear.
This was Israel's refusal. But they went away in those
things which they had lusted after in their own evil hearte
I have bought
a field, I have purchased oxen, I have married a wife. So again
he adds: I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets—this
will be the Holy Spirit, giving the summons to the feasters—by
day and before daybreak. Yet my people hearkened not, nor attended with
their ears, but hardened their neck.f
When this is reported to the master
of the household, he is moved <with anger>—well enough that
he was moved, for Marcion says his god has no emotions,


IV.31 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 441

and so in this also he is mine—and gives orders for a second choice
from out of the streets and lanes of the city. Let us see whether
to the same effect as, again by Jeremiah, he asks, Have I become
a wilderness to the house of Israel, or a land left for desolation ?g
That is,
Have I not those whom I may promote, and places from which
to promote them? Because my people hath said, We come not to thee.
And so he sent for others to be invited, but still out of the same
city. After that, as there was still plenty of room, he ordered them
to be gathered in from the highways and hedges, which now means
us, from the nations outside—no doubt with that hostility with
which he says in Deuteronomy, I will turn my face away from them,
and will shew what shall be to them at the last—
that is, that others
will take possession of their place—because it is a perverse generation,
sons in whom is no faith. They have moved me to jealousy with that which
is not god, and have provoked me to anger with their idols, and I will
move them to jealousy with that which is not a nation, and with a foolish
nation will I provoke them to anger.h
With us, it means, whose hope
the Jews maintain: and of that <hope> the Lord says they shall
not taste, because Sion is left deserted as a watch-tower in a vineyard
and a lodge in a garden of cucumbers,i
since the time it refused the
last and final invitation to come to Christ. Of the rehearsal of
this history in accordance with the covenant and prophecies
of the Creator, how much can have any application to that
<Christ> whose <god> has done all his work at one time, and has
neither history nor covenant to harmonize with the parable?
Or what is to be his first invitation, and what his admonition at
the second stage? There ought first to be people making excuses,
and afterwards others accepting. But as things are, he has come
in time to invite both groups together, whether from the city or
from the hedges, contrary to the picture the parable gives. Nor
can he at once pass judgement on the superciliousness of people
whom he has not previously invited and to whom he is only
now making approaches. Or on the other hand, if his judgement
upon them for despising his invitation refers to a future act of
theirs, it follows that the promotion into their place of others from
among the gentiles is also a presage of what is to be. Evidently
to meet this need he is to come a second time to preach to the
gentiles. Yet even if he is to come again, I suppose this will not
be as one who has still to invite his guests, but only to arrange
them in their places. Meanwhile, you who interpret the invitation


IV.33 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 443

to this supper as meaning the heavenly banquet of spiritual
satiety and joyfulness, must remember that even earthly promises
of wine and oil and corn and even of citizenship, are no less
employed by the Creator as figures of things spiritual.

32. [Luke 15: 4-10.] Who is it that seeks for a lost sheep and
a lost coin? Surely he who has lost them. And who is it has lost
them? He who had them in possession. And who was it had them?
Their owner, of course. If then man is the property of none other
than the Creator, then the man's owner had him in possession,
he who had him lost him, he who lost him sought for him, he
who sought for him found him, and he who found him rejoiced.
Thus the force of both parables is of no account in respect of
him who is the owner of neither sheep nor coin—nor of man. He
has not lost him, for he never had him in possession: nor sought
for him, for he never lost him: nor found him, for he has not
even sought for him: nor rejoiced, for he has not found him. And
consequently this rejoicing over a sinner's repentance, that is, over
the recovery of one that was lost, is the prerogative of him who
long ago declared that he had no wish for a sinner's death, but
rather for his repentance.

33. [Luke 16: 1-17.] Who those two masters are who he says
cannot be served, because of necessity one of them will be spurned
and the other protected, he himself makes clear when he sets
them down as God and mammon. And next, if you have no one
to explain to you whom he intends you to understand by mam-
mon, you can hear it from himself. When advising us so to use
worldly possessions as to provide for ourselves future friendships
and support, he refers to the example of the servant who, when
dismissed from office, relieves his lord's debtors by reducing their
obligations, and so gains security for himself: and adds, And I say
unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness,
meaning, with money, as that servant did. For all of us know
that money is the author of unrighteousness, and the tyrant of all
human society. So when he saw that the covetousness of the
pharisees was subservient to it, he slung out this sentence, Ye
cannot serve God and mammon.
So the pharisees, who were covetous
of money, derided him, because they understood that by mam-
mon he meant money. So let no one suppose that by 'mammon'


IV.33 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 445

one must understand the Creator, or that Christ had called them
away from the Creator's service. How so? Learn rather from this
how Christ has shown that God is one. He has made mention
of two masters, God and mammon, the Creator and money. So,
ye cannot serve God, the God they were thought to be serving, and
mammon,
to which they preferred to commit themselves. But if
he had been representing himself as that other, it would have
been three masters, not two, that he indicated. For the Creator is
master, being God, and in fact much more a master than mam-
mon, and deserving much greater respect, being much more the
master. For how can it be that when he had called mammon a
master and had mentioned him in the same sentence with God,
he should in truth have omitted to mention those people's own
God, the Creator? Or was it that by not mentioning him he ad-
mitted it was permissible to serve him, since it was only himself
and mammon he said could not be served? So when he speaks of
God, in the singular—though he would have mentioned the
Creator too, if he himself had been that other <god>—it was the
Creator he did mention, by the fact that he did without further
definition refer to him as master. And so light will be thrown on
this, in what sense it was said, If ye have not been faithful in the un-
righteous mammon, who will entrust to you that which is true?
He means
'unrighteous money', not 'the Creator', for even Marcion says
the Creator is 'righteous'. And if ye have not been found faithful in
that which is not your own, who will give you that which is mine?
1 For
to servants of God that which is unrighteous must always be
'not their own'. But how can the Creator be an alien to the
pharisees, when he is the particular God of the Jewish nation?
If then these expressions do not apply to the Creator but to
mammon, the questions Who will entrust to you that which is more
true?
and, Who will give you that which is mine? cannot be taken for
questions by one god about another god's grace. He might indeed
have been thought to mean this, if by censuring them for unfaith-
fulness towards the Creator, not towards mammon, he had by
mentioning the Creator introduced distinctions between <him and>
some second god who would refuse to entrust his own truth to those
unfaithful to the Creator; as likewise he can indeed be taken for
the Christ of that other god, except that he is set before us in

33. 1 At Luke 16: 12 the MSS. vary between 'that which is ours' and 'that
which is your own': 'that which is mine' (i.e. Christ's) was Marcion's invention.


IV.33 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 447

terms by which he is kept at a distance from the subject under
discussion. Seeing also that the pharisees, by justifying themselves
before men, were placing in man their hope of reward, his rebuke
to them had the same bearing as that of the prophet Jeremiah,
Wretched is the man that hath hope in man.a And as he says next, But
God knoweth your hearts,
this was a reference to the power of that
God who declared himself a shining light, searching the reins and
the hearts.b
If he adverts on their pride, That which is highly esteemed
among men is abomination to God,
he sets Isaiah in front of their eyes,
For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be against every one that is despiteful
and proud, against every one that is high and lifted up, and they shall be
brought low.c I
can now find out why Marcion's god remained all
those long ages in hiding. He was waiting, I suspect, until he
should learn all these things from the Creator. So he learned them,
right down to the time of John, and then after that came forth
to announce the kingdom of God, saying, The law and the prophets
were until John, since which time the kingdom of God is announced.
As
though we too did not know that John has been set as a sort of
dividing-line between old things and new, a line at which Judaism
should cease and Christianity should begin—not however that
by the action of any alien power there came about this cessation
of the law and the prophets, and the inception of that gospel
in which is the kingdom of God, Christ himself. For if, as
I have proved, it was the Creator who prophesied that old
things would pass away and new things take their place; and if
John is set forth as the forerunner who prepares the ways of
that Lord who will bring in the gospel and proclaim the king-
dom of God, and from the fact that John is now come, this must
be that Christ who was to come after John as forerunner; and if
old things have come to an end, and new things have begun, with
John as the point of division: then that which conforms to the
Creator's ordinance will not be so unexpected as to amount to
proof that the kingdom of God takes its origin from every imagin-
able source except the sunset of the law and the prophets upon
John, and the daybreak that came after. So then let heaven and
earth pass away,d as have the law and the prophets, more quickly
than one tittle of the words of the Lord :2 for Isaiah says, The word
of our God abideth for ever.e
For Christ, who is the Word and Spirit
of the Creator, had in Isaiah so long before prophesied of John

33. 2 Marcion seems to have combined Luke 16: 17 with 21: 33.


IV.34 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 449

as the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of
the Lord,f
and as one who was to come for this end, that the
sequence of law and prophets should from that time cease—by
being fulfilled, not by being destroyed—and that the kingdom
of God should be proclaimed by Christ: which is why he appended
the statement that it would be easier for the heavenly bodies than
for his words to pass away, so affirming that this too which he
had spoken of John had not passed into abeyance.

34. [Luke 16: 18-31.] But, <you allege>, Christ forbids divorce:
his words are, Whosoever sendeth away his wife, and marrieth another,
committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth one that is sent away by
her husband, is no less an adulterer.
So as to forbid divorce on this
side as well, he makes unlawful the marriage of a divorced woman.
Moses however permits divorce, in Deuteronomy: If any man hath
taken a wife, and hath dwelt with her, and it come to pass that she find
not favour with him because some unseemly thing hath been found in her,
he shall write a bill of divorcement and give it into her hand and send her
away from his house.a
You notice the contrast between law and
gospel, between Moses and Christ? To be sure I do. For you have
not accepted that other gospel, of equal truth, and of the same
Christ, in which while forbidding divorce he answers a particular
question concerning it: Moses because of the hardness of your heart
commanded to give a bill of divorcement, but from the beginning it was
not sob
—because in fact he who made them male and female
had said The two of them shall become one flesh.c What therefore
God has joined together shall a man presume to put asunder?
So by this answer he did two things: he set a guard upon Moses'
regulation, as his own, and set in its proper context the Creator's
ordinance, being the Creator's Christ. But seeing I have under-
taken to confute you from those documents which you have
accepted, I will meet you on this ground, as though <this> Christ
were mine. When he forbids divorce, while yet claiming as his
father him who has joined together the male and the female,
must he not rather have defended than abolished Moses' regula-
tion? But now, let us suppose that this Christ is yours, giving oppo-
site teaching to Moses and the Creator—provided that if I prove
it was not opposite, I may claim him as mine. I maintain that he
has here issued his prohibition of divorce under a certain condi-
tion—if any man sends away his wife with the intention of taking


IV.34 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 451

another. His words are, Whosoever sendeth away his wife and marrieth
another hath committed adultery, and whosoever marrieth one sent away
by her husband is no less an adulterer—<marrying> a woman sent
away <is forbidden> for the same reason for which her husband
is not allowed to send her away, so that another may be taken:
marrying a woman unlawfully sent away is like marrying one
not sent away, and the man who does this is an adulterer. So
the marriage not properly dissolved remains a marriage: and for
her to marry while the marriage remains, is adultery. Thus if it
was under these conditions that he prohibited sending away
a wife, this was not a total prohibition: and this that he has
not totally prohibited he has permitted under other conditions,
where the reason for the prohibition is absent. Thus his teaching
is not in opposition to Moses, for he in some form retains his
regulation—I do not yet say he confirms it. If however you deny
that divorce is in any way permitted by Christ, how comes it
that you yourself make separation between married people? For
you neither allow the conjunction of male and female, nor do
you admit to the sacrament of baptism and the eucharist persons
married elsewhere, unless they have made conspiracy between
themselves against the fruit of matrimony, and so against the
Creator himself. In any case, what in your view does a husband
do if his wife has committed adultery? Will he keep her? But, you
know, your own apostle does not permit the members of Christ
to be joined to a harlot.d It appears then that divorce, when
justified, has Christ's authority. Next also Moses receives support
from him, for he prohibits divorce under the same heading as
Christ does—unless there be found in the woman some unseemly
thing. For in Matthew's gospel Christ says, Whosoever shall send away
his wife, saving for the cause of adultery, causeth her to commit adultery: e
and the man who marries one sent away by her husband is no less
declared an adulterer. But except for the cause of adultery, neither
does the Creator put asunder that which he himself has joined
together: for Moses again in another place makes the rule that
the man who had married after violence committed, could not
send away his wife at any time.f But if a marriage enforced in
consequence of violence is to be permanent, how much more
shall one contracted willingly and by agreement? This too has
the authority of prophecy, Thou shalt not send away the wife of thy


IV.34 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 453

youth.g Thus you find Christ by himself treading at every point
in the Creator's footsteps, whether in permitting divorce or in
forbidding it. You will find him also, in whichever direction
you will, taking forethought regarding marriage: while he will
not have it dissolved, he forbids separation: and while he will not
have it continue under stain he permits divorce. You to your
shame refuse to join together those whom your own Christ has
joined. To your shame you put them asunder without that just
cause for which your Christ also would have them put asunder.
It is my next duty to show you also from what source the Lord
derived this judgement, and for what purpose he intended it. So
it will become more fully evident that he had no intention of
suppressing Moses' ruling by this sudden introduction of the sub-
ject of divorce: for in fact there was no sudden introduction, since
it had its origin in the aforesaid mention of John. John rebuked
Herod because contrary to the law he had married the wife of
his deceased brother, who had a daughter by her. The law does
not allow this, or give any command of this sort, except when
the brother has died childless, so that seed may be raised up to
him by his own brother, of his own wife. So John had been cast
into prison by that same Herod, and afterwards put to death.
So our Lord, having made mention of John, and in effect of
what led to his death, did under the figure of adultery and unlaw-
ful marriage make this attack upon Herod, when he pronounced
an adulterer even one who has married a woman sent away by
her husband. In this way he could pass sterner censure upon
Herod's godlessness, who had married a woman sent away by
her husband by death, which is a sort of divorce, even though
this was his brother, who had a daughter by her—on which
account his action was illicit, suggested by lust and not by the
law—and therefore had put to death that prophet who censured
his breaking of the law. The observations I have made here will
be of service also for the narrative that follows, of the rich man
in pain in hell and the poor man at rest in Abraham's bosom.
For that too, as far as the surface of scripture goes, is set before
us abruptly, though as concerns the purport of its meaning it
too is linked with the reference to the ill usage of John and his
disapproval of Herod's unlawful marriage: for it delineates the
latter end of both, Herod in torment, and John comforted, so
that even while alive Herod might hear it said, They have there Moses


IV.34 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 455

and the prophets, let them hear them. But Marcion twists it into another
direction, so as to claim that both of the Creator's rewards in
hell, whether of torment or of comfort, are intended for those who
have obeyed the law and the prophets, while he defines as heavenly
the bosom and the haven of his particular Christ and god. I shall
have an answer to this: his <defective> eyesight is put to reproof
by the scripture itself, which in distinction from hell marks off
for the poor man Abraham's bosom. For, I suppose, hell is one
thing, Abraham's bosom quite another. For it says that between
those regions a great gulf intervenes and prevents passage from
either side to the other. Moreover the rich man could not have
lifted up his eyes, even from a great distance, except towards
things higher, even from the far abyss through that immense
distance of height and depth. Hence it becomes plain to any
wise man who has ever heard of the Elysian fields, that there is
a sort of distinct locality referred to as Abraham's bosom, for the
reception of the souls of his sons even from among the gentiles—
for he is the father of those many nations who are to be reckoned
Abraham's offspring—and those of that same faith by which
Abraham himself believed God, beneath no yoke of the law, and
without the sign of circumcision.h So I affirm that that region,
Abraham's bosom, though not in heaven, yet not so deep as hell,
will in the meanwhile afford refreshment to the souls of the
righteous, until the consummation of all things makes complete
the general resurrection with its fullness of reward: for then will
be made manifest that heavenly promise which Marcion claims
for his own <god>, as though the Creator had made no publica-
tion of it. Towards this Christ buildeth up his ascent into heaven,i as
Amos says, evidently for his own people, where there is also that
place eternal of which Isaiah speaks: Who shall announce to you the
place eternal?
Who but Christ, it means, who walketh in righteousness
and speaketh of the direct way, hating unrighteousness and iniquity.j
But
if that place eternal is promised by the Creator, and it is he who
builds up the ascent into heaven, he too who promises that the
seed of Abraham shall be as the stars of heaven, on account, of
course, of that heavenly promise, why should it not be possible,
without prejudice to that promise, for the expression 'Abraham's
bosom' to mean a sort of temporary refuge for the souls of the
faithful, in which there exists already in outline an image of that


IV.35 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 457

which is to be, with the prospect of a sort of candidature for one
judgement or the other? A warning besides to you heretics, while
you are still alive, of Moses and the prophets preaching one God,
the Creator, preaching also one Christ, who is his, and that the
judgement both of punishment and of eternal salvation rests
with the one and only God, who both kills and makes alive. Yes
but, Marcion says, our god's warning from heaven commanded
them to hear not Moses and the prophets, but Christ: Hear him.k
Quite so. Because by that time the apostles had heard Moses and
the prophets as much as they needed, having become followers
of Christ through belief in Moses and the prophets. Peter could
not have taken upon him to say Thou art the Christ,l unless he had
first heard and believed Moses and the prophets, since by them
alone was there so far any announcement of Christ. So this faith
of theirs had earned confirmation also by that voice from heaven,
which commanded them to hear him whom they had taken
knowledge of as preaching good tidings of peace, good tidings
of good things,m announcing the place eternal, and building up
for them his own ascent into heaven.n But the statement made
in hell, They have there Moses and the prophets, let them hear them, had
reference to those people who did not believe, or did not entirely
so believe, that the announcement made by Moses and the pro-
phets of punishments after death had reference to the pride of
riches and the boastfulness of luxury, and that they were decreed
by that God who puts down princes from their thrones and lifts
up the needy out of the dunghill.o Since then diversity of sentence
on the one side or the other is within the Creator's competence,
it is no difference of two divinities we have here to decide on,
but a difference in the facts under consideration.

35. [Luke 17.] Thereupon he turns to his disciples, and pro-
nounces Woe upon the author of offences, saying that it were
better for him if he had not been born,a or if a millstone were
hanged about his neck and he were hurled into the depth, rather
than have offended one of these little ones—meaning his disciples.
Consider how severe a punishment he threatens him with. For
it is he and no other who will take vengeance for offence to his
disciples. Observe then that he is a judge, and that he declares


IV.35 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 459

his care for his own with the same regard for them as the Creator
before him: He that toucheth you, as it were toucheth the apple of my
eye.b
It is the same meaning, of one and the same speaker. A
brother who sins, he says must be rebuked. He who neglects to
do this, is himself at fault, because either from hatred of his
brother he would have him continue in sin, or else he spares him
through acceptance of his person, though he has it in Leviticus:
Thou shall not hate thy brother in thy heart: thou shall surely rebuke thy
neighbour—
and of course brother—and shall not take up sin because of
him.c
Nor is it any wonder that this is the teaching of him who for-
bids you to disregard even your brother's cattle if you find them
straying on the road,d so as to fail to bring them back to your
brother—how much more your brother to himself. Also he tells you
to forgive your brother who sins against you, even seven times.
Too little, evidently. With the Creator there is more, for he sets no
measure, but makes the pronouncement without limit, that you
are not to be mindful of your brother's malice,e and commands
you to grant forgiveness not to one who asks for it but even to
one who does not ask: for his intention is not that you should
forgive the offence, but forget it. The law concerning lepers has
a profound meaning, in respect of the various forms of that
disease and of the high priest's inspection of it.f This it will be
our task to ascertain, while it falls to Marcion to set against it
the strict meaning of the law, so as in this case too to maintain
that Christ is in opposition to it. For Christ dispenses with the
strict rules of the law here too in the healing of ten lepers, whom
he merely told to go and show themselves to the priests, and
cleansed them as they went, with no contact and no word of
command, but by silent power and unaided will. And surely
when it has once been put on record that Christ is the healer of
sicknesses and disabilities, and when he has been proved so by
facts accomplished, we have no need for any discussion of the
form and manner of those healings, or for the Creator in Christ
to be challenged before the law if he has himself performed some
action otherwise than he laid down in the law. For in fact the
Lord does his works in one way by himself or by his Son, in
another way by the prophets his servants, especially those works
which are evidences of his might and power: for these, being his
own works, are more excellent in glory and power, and therefore


IV.35 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 461

may rightly be different from those done by agents. But things
like this have already been said elsewhere in my previous evidence.
Now although he has said before this that there were many lepers
in Israel in the days of Elisha the prophet and that none of them
was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian,g the matter of number
will be no indication of a difference of gods, to the diminution
of the Creator who heals only one, and the advancement of him
who cleansed ten. For who can doubt that many more could have
been cured by him who had already cured one, rather than the
ten by him who had never in the past cured even one? But he is
chiefly concerned in this statement to attack Israel's Unbelief or
pride, in that though there were among them many lepers, and
a prophet was not unavailable, even when proof had been given,
no one made speed to God who was at work in the prophets. So
then, since he himself was with primary and plenary authority
the high priest of God the Father, he did examine them in accor-
dance with the secret meaning of the law, which indicates that
Christ is the true examiner and remover of the defilements of
men. But he also gave them the order which was in the surface
meaning of the law: Go, shew yourselves to the priests. Why so, if his
intention was to cleanse them first? Was it perhaps as one casting
scorn on the law, so as to let them see, as they were healed on the
way, that the law was nothing to them, nor the priests either?
Any man must himself answer for it, who thinks Christ so tied to
rule as this. No, we need worthier interpretations, more con-
formable to faith: that the cause of their healing was that when
commanded to make their way to the priests, according to the
law, they did as they were told. For it is beyond belief, that ob-
servers of the law should have won their healing from a destroyer
of the law. But why did he give no such order to the original
leper?1 Because neither did Elisha to Naaman the Syrian: but
that does not mean he was not the Creator's prophet. I have given
a fair answer: yet he who has believed understands also something
deeper. Hear then what the reasons were. The act took place in
the parts of Samaria, from which in fact one of the lepers had
come. But Samaria had revolted from Israel, deriving that schism
from the nine tribes torn away by Ahijah the prophet, which

35. 1 Who this original leper was, is not clear: certainly not the leper at
Luke 5: 12-16, for he did receive such an order, which Marcion had not
excised.


IV.35 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 463

Jeroboam had settled about Samaria. Now in other ways too
the Samaritans were always pleased with themselves, about
mountains, and ancestral wells; as in the gospel of John that
Samaritan woman in conversation with our Lord at the well,
Art thou greater, and so on: and again, Our fathers worshipped in this
mountain, and ye say that in Jerusalem men ought to worship.h
So now
he who by Amos had said Woe to them that shall trust in the mountain
of Samaria,i
now vouchsafes to restore even it, and of set purpose
commands it to show itself to the priests—because there were no
priests except where there was a temple—thus making the
Samaritan subject to the Jew, because salvation is of the Jews,
although the Samaritans also are Israelites. For the whole of the
promise to the tribe of Judah was Christ himself: so that they
might know that at Jerusalem were both priests and temple and
the matrix of religion and the fountain, not a <mere> well, of
salvation. And so, when he saw that they had acknowledged that
the law must be fulfilled at Jerusalem, as they were now fit to
be justified by faith without the observance of the law, he gave
them healing. So again when he marvelled that that one alone
of the ten, a Samaritan, on his release remembered to give thanks
to God, he did not command him to offer a gift according to the
law, because he had already offered a sufficient sacrifice by giving
glory to God—and it is in this way that our Lord wishes the law
to be interpreted. Yet to which god did the Samaritan return
thanks, when not even an Israelite had until then heard of any
god but one? Surely to the same God to whom all those pre-
viously healed by Christ. And so he was told, Thy faith hath made
thee whole,
because he had understood it was his duty to offer
a true oblation to Almighty God, which is the giving of thanks,
in his true Temple, in the presence of Christ his true High Priest.
But not even the pharisees can be taken to have consulted our
Lord about the kingdom of any alternative god, asking when it
was to come, so long as no publication of another god had as
yet been made by Christ: nor can he be supposed to have given
his answer about the kingdom of any god except the one he was
asked about. The kingdom of God, he says, cometh not with observation,
neither do they say, Lo here, lo there, for behold the kingdom of God is
within you.
Surely everyone must interpret these words, Is within
you,
as 'in your hand', 'within your power', if you give ear, if


IV.35 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 465

you do the commandment of God. But if the kingdom of God is
in the commandment, set opposite to it Moses, as my antitheses
suggest, and there is complete agreement. The commandment,
he says, is not on high, nor far from thee. It is not in heaven, that thou
shouldest say, Who shall go up to heaven, and bring it down for us, and
we will hear it and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest
say, Who shall go over the sea and bring it for us, and we will hear it and
do it ? The word is near thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart, and in thy
hands, to do it.j
This will be the meaning of, Not here, not there; for
behold the kingdom of God is within you.
And to prevent heretical
audacity from arguing that our Lord's reply to them was con-
cerned with the Creator's kingdom, about which they consulted
him, and not with his own, the words that follow stand in the
way. For when he says that the Son of man must first suffer many
things, and be rejected before his coming, in which also the
kingdom will be revealed in its objective reality, he shows that it
was of his own kingdom that he gave the answer, and that it was
in expectation of his own sufferings and rejections. But as he had
to be rejected, and afterwards acknowledged and lifted up and
glorified, he gleaned this word 'rejected' from that passage where
in David, in the figure of the stone, both his appearances were
prophesied of, the first to be refused, the second to be honoured.
The stone, it says, which the builders rejected, the same is become the
head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing.k
There would be no purpose
in it, if we supposed that God prophesied of the contempt or the
glory of someone else, and had not in view him whom he had had
in view in the figure of the stone and the rock and the mountain.
But if it is his own coming he speaks of, why does he compare
it with those dark and frightful days of Noah and Lot, if he is a
god kind and gentle? Why does he warn them to remember Lot's
wife, who despised the Creator's orders and suffered for it, if he
is not coming with judgement, to avenge the breach of his own
orders? Even if he does take vengeance, as the Creator does, if he
does judge me, he has no business to inform me of that by the evi-
dences of the God he is overthrowing: else I must think that that
God is informing me. But if he is here speaking not of his own
coming, but of the Jewish Christ's, let us even now be in expecta-
tion lest he make some prophecy of his own coming, believing
meanwhile that it is himself he prophesies of in every place.


IV.36 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 467

36. [Luke 18.] To commend perseverance and persistence in
prayer, he applies the parable of a judge who by the persistence
and perseverance of a widow's complaints was compelled to give
her a hearing.. So he points to God as a judge to be prayed to,
not himself, if <as you allege> he is not a judge. But he adds that
God will avenge his own elect. If then he who is an avenger must
also be a judge, in that case he has set his approval on the Creator
as a better sort of God when he indicates that he is an avenger of
his own elect who cry day and night to him. He next refers to the
Creator's temple, and describes two men who worship with
opposite intentions, the pharisee with pride, the publican with
humility, and tells how the one in consequence went down to his
house rejected, the other justified: and in giving this instruction
by what rule prayer ought to be made, he has here too specified
that that God ought to be prayed to from whom men could
expect a response to that rule of prayer, a response either in rejec-
tion of pride or in justification of humility. I find in Christ no
indication of any temple, or of people who pray in it, or of any
judgement, of any other god than the Creator. Him he commands
us to worship in humility, as one who raises up the lowly; not in
pride, for he puts down the mighty. What other god has he
commended to my worship? By what rule? With what hope?
None, I imagine. For the prayer too which he has taught us, I
have proved is conformable to the Creator. It is another matter
if as a god supremely good, and of his own nature kind, he does
not wish even to be worshipped. Who, he asks, is supremely good,
except one, that is God?
Not as though he has indicated by this that
one out of two gods is supremely good, but that there is one only
supremely good God, who is for this reason the one supremely
good because he is the only God. And indeed he is supremely good,
sending rain upon the just and the unjust, and making his sun
to rise upon the good and the bada—bearing with, and feeding,
and helping even Marcionites. So then when he is asked by that
certain man, Good Teacher, what shall I do to obtain possession of
eternal life?,
he inquired whether he knew—which means, was
keeping—the Creator's commandments, in such form as to testify
that by the Creator's commandments eternal life is obtained:
and when that man replied, in respect of the chief of them, that
he had kept them from his youth up, he got the answer, One


IV.36 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 469

thing thou lackest; sell all that thou hast and give to the poor, and thou
shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.
Come now, Marcion,
and all you companions in the misery and sharers in the offen-
siveness of that heretic, what will you be bold enough to say?
Did Christ here rescind those former commandments, not to
kill, not to commit adultery, not to steal, not to bear false witness,
to love father and mother? Or is it that he both retained these
and added what was lacking? And yet, even this commandment
of distributing to the poor is spread about everywhere in the law
and the prophets, so that that boastful keeper of the command-
ments was convicted of having money in much higher esteem.
So then this also in the gospel remains valid, I am not come to
destroy the law and the prophets, but rather to fulfil.b
At the same time
also he relieved of doubt those other questions, by making it
clear that the name of God, and of supremely good, belongs to
one only, and that eternal life and treasure in heaven, and him-
self besides, pertain to that one, whose commandments, by adding
what was lacking, he both conserved and enriched. So he is to
be recognized as in agreement with Micah, in this passage where
he says, Hath he then shewed thee, O man, what is good? Or what doth
the Lord require of thee but to do justice, to love mercy, and to be prepared
to follow the Lord thy God?c
For Christ is that Man, declaring what
is good: the knowledge of the law, Thou knowest the commandments:
to do justice, Sell the things thou hast: to love mercy, And give to the
poor:
to be prepared to go with the Lord, And come, follow me. The
Jewish race was from the beginning so clearly distinguished into
tribes and communes and families and households, that no man
could easily be of unknown descent, at least from the recent census
of Augustus, of which perhaps the records were still on display.
But Marcion's Jesus—yet there could be no doubt that one had
been born, who was seen to be a man—he indeed, not having
been born, could have had in the public records no note of his
descent, but would have had to be reckoned as one from among
those persons who in some way or other were classed as unknown.
When then that blind man had been told that he was passing by,
why did he cry out, Jesus thou son of David, have mercy on me, except
that he was with good reason regarded as the son of David, which
means, of the family of David, in consideration of his mother and
his brethren, who had in fact on one occasion because of people's


IV.36 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 471

knowledge of them, been reported to him as being present? But
they that went before rebuked the blind man, that he should hold
his peace. Quite properly: because he was making a noise, not
because he was wrong about the son of David. Or else you must
prove that those who rebuked were convinced that Jesus was not the
son of David, if you wish me to believe that that was their reason
for putting the blind man to silence. Yet even if you did prove
this, the man would more readily assume that those people were
in ignorance, than that the Lord could have allowed to pass a
false description of himself. But the Lord is patient.d He is not
however one who stands surety for error—but rather a revealer
of the Creator—so that he would not have failed first to take
away the cloud of this aspect of that man's blindness, and so
prevent him from thinking any longer that Jesus was the son of
David. Far from it: to preclude you from speaking ill of his
patience, or from attaching to him any charge of keeping back
the truth, or from saying he is not the son of David, he expressed
the clearest possible approval of the blind man's commendation,
rewarding it with the gift of healing, and with witness to his faith.
Thy faith, he says, hath made thee whole. What do you say was the
substance of that blind man's faith? That Jesus had come down
from that god of yours with intent to overthrow the Creator and
destroy the law and the prophets? that he was not the one fore-
ordained to come forth from the root of Jesse and from the fruit
of David's loins, a giver of gifts also to the blind? No, there did
not yet exist, I think, people of Marcion's sort of blindness, that
such should have been the content of that blind man's faith which
he expressed in the cry, Jesus, thou son of David. Jesus knew that
this was what he is, and wished it to be known of all men, so that
although the man's faith was based on better eyesight, although
it was possessed of the true light, he gave it the further gift of
external vision, so that we too might be taught what is the rule,
and also the reward, of faith. He who wishes to see Jesus, must
believe him the son of David by descent from the virgin: he
who does not so believe will never be told by him, Thy faith hath
saved thee,
and consequently will remain blind, falling into the
ditch of an antithesis, which itself falls into a ditch. For this is
what happens when the blind leads the blind. For if, <as you
suggest>, blind men once came into conflict with David at his
recapture of Sion,e fighting back to prevent his admission—


IV.37 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 473

though these are a figure of that nation equally blind, which
was some time to deny admission to Christ the son of David—
and therefore Christ came to the blind man's help by way of
opposition so that by this he might show himself not the son of
David, being of opposite mind, and kind to blind men, such as
David had ordered to be slain: <if this is so> why did he say he had
granted this to the man's faith, and false faith at that? But in
fact by this expression son of David I can, on its own terms, blunt
the point of the antithesis. Those who came into conflict with
David were blind: but here a man of the same infirmity had
presented himself as suppliant to the son of David. Consequently,
when he gave this satisfaction, the son of David was in some
sort appeased and restored his sight, adding also a testimony to
the faith by which he had believed this very fact, that he must
address his prayer to the son of David. For all that, David I
think will have been offended by the insolence of those Jebusites,
not by the state of their health.

37. [Luke 19: 1-27.] Salvation also comes to the house of Zac-
chaeus. How did he earn it? Was it that even he believed that
Christ was come from Marcion? No, for there remained still in
the ears of all of them that blind man's cry, Have mercy upon me,
Jesus thou son of David,a
and all the people were giving praises to
God—not Marcion's god, but David's. For in fact Zacchaeus,
though a foreigner,1 yet perhaps had breathed in some knowledge
of the scriptures by converse with Jews, or, what is more, without
knowing about Isaiah, had fulfilled his instructions. Break thy
bread,
he says, to the hungry, and bring into thy house them that have no
covering—
and this he was even then doing when he brought the
Lord into his house and gave him to eat. And if thou see the naked,
cover himb
at that very moment he promised this, when he offered
the half of his goods for all works of mercy, thus loosing the bonds
of enforced contracts, and letting loose the oppressed, and break-
ing down every unjust assessment, in the words, And if I have taken
anything from any man by false accusation, I restore it fourfold.
And so
our Lord says, Today is salvation <come> to this house: he bears witness
that those were works of salvation which the Creator's prophet

37. - Luke 19: 1-10 does not say that Zacchaeus was a foreigner, unless that is
implied by his being a chief tax-collector. In LXX allophylus is the word for
Philistine.


IV.38 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 475

had enjoined. But when he says, For the Son of man is come to save
that which was lost
, I do not at present claim that he who had come
to save that which was lost, was he to whom belonged, and from
whom had become lost, that which he had come to save; I turn
my steps towards a different subject. There is no doubt that a
man is under discussion. Since a man consists of two substances,
body and soul, the question we must consider is, in respect of
which kind of substance he may be supposed to have become lost.
If of the body, then his body was lost, his soul was not. That
which was lost, is what the Son of man saves: and so the flesh
obtains salvation. If he was lost in respect of his soul, then it is
the loss of the soul which is intended for salvation: the flesh, which
has not got lost, is safe already. If the whole man was lost, in
respect of both substances, then the whole man must of necessity
be brought to salvation, and there is an end of that opinion of the
heretics who say the flesh finds no salvation. And besides, there
is confirmation of the fact that Christ belongs to the Creator, since
in full accord with the Creator he promised salvation of the whole
man. Also the parable of the servants, who are judged variously
according as they account for their lord's money entrusted to
them, indicates that God is a judge, even on the side of severity,
not only promoting to honour, but even taking away that which
a man thinks he has. Or else, if here too it is a pretence of his,
that the Creator is an austere one, taking up that which he has
not laid down, and reaping that which he has not sown, here
again the instruction comes to me from him whose the money is
which <the parable> advises me to put on usury.

38. [Luke 20: 1-8, 22-44.] Christ knew the baptism of John,
whence it was. Why then did he ask the question, as though he
did not know? He did know that the pharisees would not answer
him. Why then did he ask, to no purpose? Was it not that he
might judge them out of their own mouth, or even out of their
own heart? So take this episode to bear on the justification of the
Creator, and on Christ's agreement with him, and ask yourself
what the consequence would have been if the pharisees had
returned an answer to his question. Suppose they had answered
that John's baptism was from men: they would at once have been
stoned to death. Some anti-marcionite Marcion would have
stood up and said, 'See a god supremely good, a god the opposite


IV.38 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 477

of the Creator's doings! well aware that men were going to fall
headlong, he himself put them on the edge of a precipice.' For
this is how they treat of the Creator, in his law about the tree.a
But suppose John's baptism was from heaven. And why, Christ
says, did ye not believe him ? So then he whose wish it was that John
should be believed, who was expected to blame them for not
believing him, belonged to that God whose sacrament John was
the minister of. At all events, when they refused to answer what
they thought, and he replied in like terms, Neither do I tell you by
what power I do these things,
he returned evil for evil. Render to
Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's.
Which shall be the things that are God's? Those that are like Cae-
sar's penny, God's own image and likeness. So his command means
that man must be given back to his Creator, in whose image
and likeness and name and metal he was stamped into shape.
Let Marcion's god go and fetch coinage for himself—Christ's
command is for the penny, which is man, to be rendered to its
own Caesar, not to a stranger—except that one has to do this,
who has not a penny of his own. It is a just and creditable rule
that whenever a question is asked the meaning of the reply must
be pertinent to the purpose of the inquiry. It is the act of a mad-
man, when a person asks for judgement on one matter, to answer
him about something different. So let us not attribute to Christ
an act unseemly even for a man. The sadducees, who say there
is no resurrection, having a question to ask about this, set before
our Lord a case out of the law, touching a woman who according
to legal requirement had married seven brothers who died one
after the other, and asked which man's wife she would be reckoned
to be at the resurrection. This was the subject of the question, the
object of their consultation. Christ's answer must have been on
the same terms. He had no fear of anyone, nor any reason why
we should think he either refused their questionings, or used them
as an opportunity for giving secret hints of things which in other
circumstances he did not teach openly. His answer then was, that
the children of this world marry. You see how pertinent to the
case: because the question asked was about the world to come,
in which he was going to define the rule that no one marries, he
first stated the fact that marriage does take place here where
there is also death. Those however whom God has accounted


IV.38 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 479

worthy of the inheritance of that world, and the resurrection from
the dead, neither marry, <he says,> nor are given in marriage,
because they cannot die any more, since they become like the
angels, being made the sons of God and of the resurrection. Since
then the meaning of the reply must be turned in no other direction
than the purpose of the inquiry, if by this meaning of the reply
the purpose of the inquiry is satisfactorily met, then our Lord's
reply has no other meaning than that by which the question
receives an answer. You have the times during which marriage
is permitted and those in which it is not, arising not from a ques-
tion about this in itself, but about the resurrection. You have
also a confirmation of the resurrection in itself, and the whole
of what the sadducees were asking questions about: for they
were not asking questions about a different god, nor did they seek
to know about their own particular law of marriage. If however
you make Christ give an answer to questions that were not sub-
mitted to him, you are saying that he was incapable of answering
the questions he was asked about—that in fact he was trapped
by the sadducees' cleverness. Beyond now what is strictly neces-
sary, having dealt with the main question, I shall take up the
discussion against the quibbles they attach to it. They have seized
upon the text of scripture, and have read on like this: 'Those
whom the god of that world has counted worthy'.1 They attach
'of that world' to 'god', so as to make out that there is another god,
'of that world'. Whereas it ought to be read, Those whom God has
counted worthy,
so that by punctuating after 'God', 'of that world'
belongs to what follows, that is, Those whom God hath counted
worthy of the inheritance of that world, and of the resurrection.
For the
question he was asked was not about the god of that world, but
about its conditions, whose wife the woman was to be in that
world, after the resurrection. So again, on the subject of marriage,
they misrepresent his answer, so as to make out that, The children
of this world marry and are given in marriage,
refers to the Creator's
men whom he allows to marry, whereas they themselves, whom
the god of that world, that other god, has counted worthy of the
resurrection, even here and now do not marry, because they are

38. 1 'The god of that world etc.' was Marcion's tendentious alteration of
Luke 20: 35, 'They that are accounted worthy to attain to that world, etc.,
There is nothing in the parallel passages Matt. 23: 30 and Mark 12: 25 to
justify the alteration. Cf. also V. 11.9 'the god of this world'.


IV.39 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 481

not the children of this world—although it was the marriage of
that world he was asked about, not this, and the marriage he said
there was not, was that about which he was consulted. So then
those who had taken in the real force of his words and their
expression and punctuation, understood no other meaning than
that which was pertinent to the subject he was asked about. And
so the scribes comment, Master, thou hast well said. For he had
agreed with them about the resurrection, explaining the manner
of it, as against the heresy of the sadducees. And here too he did
not refuse the commendation of those who took it that that was
what his answer meant. If now the scribes regarded Christ as the
son of David, and David himself calls him Lord, what does this
mean to Christ? It was not that David was correcting a mistake
of the scribes, but that David was paying respect to Christ, when
David affirmed that Christ was his Lord even more than his son—
and this would not be in character with a destroyer of the Creator.
But on my side how very apposite an interpretation. He had
recently been called upon by that blind man as son of David:
what he then refrained from saying, as he had no scribes present,
he now in their presence brings forward without suggestion from
them, so as to indicate that he whom the blind man, following the
scribes' doctrine, had called merely David's son, was also David's
Lord. So he rewards that blind man's faith, by which he had
believed him the son of David, but criticizes the tradition of the
scribes, by which they failed to know him also as Lord. Anything
that had bearing on the glory of the Creator's Christ, could only
have been sustained in this form by one who was himself the
Creator's Christ.

39. [Luke 21: 8-38.] We have already reached agreement on the
rightful ownership of the names, that it appertains to him who
first proclaimed his own Christ among men, and changed a name
to Jesus. Thus we shall also be in agreement concerning the pre-
sumption of one who says that many will come in his name, when
it is not his name if he is not the Christ and Jesus of the Creator,
to whom the rightful possession of the name belongs, and when,
what is more, he forbids our acceptance of others who are in like
case with himself, seeing that he, no less than they, has come in
a name not his own—unless it was his purpose to forewarn the
disciples against lying claimants to the name, he himself through


IV.39 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 483

rightful ownership of the name possessing the truth of it.1 So
then those people will come, saying I am Christ.a You, <Marcion,>
will receive them: you have received one exactly like them. For
this one too has come in his own name. What then of the fact
that there is still to come the real owner of the names, the Christ
and Jesus of the Creator? Shall you reject him? But how unfair,
how unjust, how unworthy of a god supremely good, that you
should not receive him when he conies in his own name, when you
have already received another in his name. Let us see also with
what signs he marks the times. Wars, I imagine, and kingdom
against kingdom, and nation against nation, and a plague, and
famines and earthquakes, and fearful sights, and great signs from
heaven, all of which are in keeping with a stern and fearsome
God. When he adds even that these things must needs be, who
does he claim that he is, one who brings the Creator to ruin, or
one who defends him? It is the Creator's appointments he affirms
must needs be fulfilled, though being himself supremely good, and
these so sad and so fearsome, he would have taken them away
rather than have decreed them, if they had not been his very own.
But before these things he tells them that persecutions and suffer-
ings will come upon them, for martyrdom and also for salvation.
See how this was foretold in Zechariah: The Lord Almighty shall
defend them, and they will devour them, and stone them with sling stones,
and they will drink their blood like wine, and will fill their bowls as of
the altar, and the Lord shall save them in that day like sheep, even his own
people, because the holy stones roll down.b
And that you may not think
this is prophesied of the sufferings which awaited them from
foreigners, in the name of all those wars, consider of what sort
they are. No one when telling of wars to be waged with lawful
arms takes account of stoning, which is more usually met with
in popular assemblies and unarmed tumult. No one in war
measures all those rivers of blood by the capacity of bowls, nor
equates this with the blood shed upon one single altar. No one
describes as sheep those who fall when under arms in war, them-
selves contending with equal ferocity, but those rather who are
slain in their own station and patience, in self-surrender rather than
in self-defence. He says in fact, Because the holy stones roll down, not,

39. 1 The sentence begins as an attack on Marcion's Christ, but from 'unless
it was his purpose' drops the irony, and reverts to the truth, that he who spoke
these words is the Creator's, the real, Christ.


IV.39 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 485

Because soldiers fight. For the stones are those foundations upon
which we are being built up, laid down, as Paul says, upon the
foundation of the apostles;c and these holy stones began to roll
down when they were set up against the assault of all men. Here
again he tells them not to meditate beforehand what ought to be
their answer at judgement seats: for it was he who had put into
the mouth of Balaamd what he had not thought of, indeed the
opposite of what he had thought of, and when Moses made the
excuse of slowness of tongue had promised him a mouth.e And
of that wisdom itself, which no one could resist, he gave evidence
by Isaiah, This man shall say, I am God's, and shall cry in the name of
Jacob, and another shall be inscribed by the name of Israel.f For
what is
there wiser or more irresistible than a plain and express confession
in the name of a martyr who prevails with God ? For this is the
meaning of Israel. And no wonder that a check was put upon
premeditation by one who himself received from the Father the
ability to speak words in season: The Lord giveth me the tongue of
discipline <to know> when I ought to utter speech:
except that Marcion
suggests that Christ is not subject to the Father. That there were
prophecies of persecution from near kindred, and of evil-speaking
from hatred of the name, I have no need to point out a second time.
But by endurance, he says, ye shall make out your salvation, of which in
fact the psalm speaks, The endurance of the just shall not perish for
ever.g
So it says in another place, Right dear is the death of the justh
because of his endurance, no doubt, seeing that Zechariah has
it, But there shall be a crown for them that have endured.i But so that
you may not presume to argue that the apostles were put to
distress by the Jews as preachers of your other god, remember
that the prophets also suffered the same things from the Jews,
though they were apostles of no other god than the Creator.
Having next indicated the time of its destruction, when Jerusalem
should have begun to be compassed about with armies, he goes
on to tell of the signs of the last end, wonders in the sun and moon
and stars, and on earth distress of nations in astonishment, as
by the roar of the waves of the sea, because of their expectation
of the evils overhanging the world. And that even the powers of
the heavens must be shaken, listen to Joel: And I will shew wonders
in the heaven and in the earth, blood and fire and vapour of smoke: the
sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before that
great and notable day of the Lord come.j
You have also Habakkuk,


IV.39 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 487

The earth will be rent asunder with rivers, the peoples will see thee and
be in travail, thou wilt scatter the waters in passing by, the deep uttered
his voice, the summit of his fear was lifted high: the sun and the moon
stood still in their order: into the light thy gleamings will go forth, into
the lightning <of> the thunder <of> thy shield: in thy threatening thou wilt
diminish the earth, and in thine indignation thou wilt put down the
nations.k
Our Lord's pronouncements and the prophets' are, I
think, in agreement regarding the shaking of the heavens and
the earth, the planets and the nations. And what does the Lord
say next? And then shall they see the Son of man coming from heaven,
with great power. But when these things come to pass, ye will look up and
lift up your heads, because your redemption has drawn nigh
—at the
time of the kingdom, to be sure, to which will apply the parable
that follows. So ye also when ye see all these things come to pass, know
ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
This will be that great and
notable day of the Lord, when he comes as the Son of man from
heaven, as Daniel says: Behold one like a son of man coming with the
clouds of heaven,
and what follows: and there was given to him kingly
authority,l
that which in the parable he had gone forth to claim,
when he left money with his servants for them to do business with:
and all the nationslthose which the Father had promised him in
the psalm, Desire of me and I will give thee the gentiles for thine inheri-
tancem—and all glory serving him, and his dominion is everlasting, that
shall not be taken away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed,l
because in it they will not die, nor marry, but will be like the
angels. Again of that advent of the Son of man, and the benefit
of it, in Habakkuk: Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people,
even for the salvation of thine anointed ones,n
those who are to look up
and lift up their heads, when redeemed at the time of the king-
dom. So then since there is agreement in these statements in-
volving promises, as there was in those which involved shattering
down, because of this harmony between the prophets' pronounce-
ments and our Lord's, you will be unable at this point to interpose
any distinction, so as to refer the shatterings to the Creator—a
god of savagery, shatterings such as a god supremely good could
not permit, far less look forward to—but assign to your supremely
good god those promises which the Creator in ignorance of him
had not prophesied about. Otherwise, if they were his own promises
that <the Creator> prophesied, and these were not different from
the promises of Christ, <the Creator> will be equal in liberty with


IV.39 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 489

your supremely good god, and it will appear that nothing better
is promised by your Christ than by my Son of man. You will find
that the whole sequence of the gospel narrative, from the disciples'
question as far as the parable of the fig-tree, is in its close-knit
reasoning so attached on one side and on the other to the Son of
man as to combine together in him both the sorrows and the
joys, both the shatterings and the promises: nor can you detach
from him either part of them. So then as it is but one Son of man
whose advent is appointed between those two terms of shatterings
and of promises, with that same one Son of man are necessarily
associated both the distresses of the nations and the aspirations
of the saints: for his position between them is such that he belongs
equally to both terms, bringing by his advent an end to the one,
the distresses of the nations, and a beginning to the other, the
aspirations of the saints. So that if you admit that the coming of
the Son of man is my Christ's advent, the more you impute to
him those imminent sorrows which precede his advent, the more
you are forced also to ascribe to him those good things which take
their rise from his advent: or alternatively, if you prefer <the
coming of the Son of man> to be the advent of your Christ, the
more you ascribe to him those good things which arise from his
advent, the more you are forced also to impute to him those
sorrows which precede his advent. For the sorrows are no less
closely attached to the corning of the Son of man by going before,
than are the good things by coming after. Ask yourself then to
which of the two Christs you assign the role of the one Son of
man, so that to it may be referred both the one series of events
and the other. You have admitted either that the Creator is
supremely good, or that your god is stern in nature. Finally, con-
sider the evidence of the parable itself: Behold the fig tree and all
the trees: when they have produced fruit, men understand that summer has
come near: so ye also, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that
the kingdom of God is at hand.
So if the appearance of fruit on small
trees gives the sign for the summer season, because it precedes it,
no less do the collisions of the world, by going before it, mark
beforehand the sign for the kingdom. Now every sign belongs to
him to whom belongs the property of which it is the sign, and
upon every property the sign is set by him to whom the property
belongs. Thus if the collisions are signs of the kingdom, as the
fruiting of trees is of summer, it follows that the kingdom is the


IV.40 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 491

Creator's, since to him are ascribed the collisions which are the
signs of the kingdom. He had begun by saying that these things
must needs be—things so frightful, so horrible—your god supremely
good—certainly things foretold by the prophets and the law:
and so he was not destroying the law and the prophets, for he
affirms that those things must needs be accomplished which they
had foretold. And now he adds that heaven and earth shall not
pass away unless all things be fulfilled. What things are these?
If the things which are from the Creator, quite rightly will the
elements await the fulfilment of their Lord's proceedings: if the
things which are from that god supremely good, I doubt if heaven
and earth will await the accomplishment of things which the
opponent has decided on. If the Creator is going to bear with this,
he is not a jealous god. So then, let earth and heaven pass away:
for so their own Lord has determined. Provided that his word
abide for ever: for so Isaiah has foretold it will.o Also let the dis-
ciples take heed, lest at any time their hearts be overcharged with
surfeiting and drunkenness and the cares of this world, and so
that day come upon them suddenly, like a snare—because they
have forgotten God amid the world's abundance and interests.
The warning will have come from Moses.p So deliverance from
the snare of that day will come from him who of old issued this
warning. There were also other places in Jerusalem where he
might teach, and other places outside Jerusalem where he might
go out and rest. Yet by day he was teaching in the temple, as he had
himself foretold by Hosea, In my temple they found me, and in it was
there disputation with them.q
But by night he went out into the olive-
garden: for so had Zechariah declared: And his feet shall stand in
the mount of Olives.r
There were also appropriate times for hearing
him: for they had to come together early in the morning, because
after saying, by Isaiah, The Lord giveth me the tongue of learning,
he added also, In the morning he applied to me an ear for hearing.s If
this is to destroy the prophets, what must it be to fulfil them?

40. [Luke 22: 1-20.] Likewise he knows at what season that one
must needs suffer, whose passion the law prefigures. For out of
all those Jewish feasts he has chosen the day of the passover. For
with reference to this mystery Moses had declared, It is the Lord's
passover.a
So he makes his affection plain: With desire I have desired
to eat the passover with you before I suffer.
Look at this destroyer of the


IV.40 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 493

law, who had desired to keep the passover. Was it perhaps that
Jewish lamb's flesh would give him pleasure? Or not rather that he
was to be brought as a sheep to sacrifice, and as a sheep before
the shearer was not to open his mouth,b and so had that great
desire to accomplish the figure of his saving blood? He could
perhaps have been betrayed by some stranger: then I could not
have said that even in this the psalm was fulfilled, He that hath.
eaten bread with me shall lift up his heel against me.c He could have
been betrayed and no one have been paid for it: for how little had
a betrayer to do in the case of one who met with people openly,
and could have been taken by force quite as easily as betrayed.
But this would have been in keeping with a different Christ, not
one who was fulfilling prophecies: for it is written, Because they
sold the righteous.d Also the amount and the destination of the
price paid, brought back when Judas repented, and spent on
the purchase of the potter's field, as is contained in Matthew's
gospel, is prophesied of beforehand by Jeremiah: And they took
the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, or honoured,
and gave them for the potter's field.' So then, having affirmed that
with desire he had desired to eat the passover, his own passoverf--
it would not have been right for God to desire anything not his
own—the bread which he took, and divided among his disciples,
he made into his body, saying This is my body, that is, the figure
of my body.1 Now there could have been no figure, unless it
had been a veritable body; for an empty thing, which a phantasm
is, would have been incapable of figure. Or else, if you suppose
he formed bread into a body for himself because he felt the lack
of a veritable body, then it was bread he ought to have delivered
up for us. It would well suit Marcion's vacuity, that bread should
be crucified. Yet why does he call his body bread, and not rather
a pumpkin, which Marcion had instead of a heart? For he did not
understand how ancient was this figure of the body of Christ,
who himself speaks by Jeremiah, They have devised a device against
me, saying, Come and let us cast wood upon his bread,g meaning, the
cross upon his body. So Christ, who throws light upon ancient

40. 1 Harnack (Marcion, p. 144, note 2) mistakenly attributes this explanation
to Marcion, and credits him with a figurative interpretation of the dominical
words. The explanation is Tertullian's, and figura does not indicate anything
merely figurative, but a visible objective shape. So above, I. 14. 3. panem quo
corpus suum repraesentat, 'makes his own body present': also III. 19. 3. In the
next sentence, panem corpus sibi finxit, the verb means 'moulded', not pretended'.


IV.41 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 495

things, has made it quite clear what on that earlier occasion he
meant by bread, when here he calls bread his own body. So also
at the reference to the cup, when establishing the covenant
sealed with his own blood, he affirmed the reality of his body:
for there can be no blood except from a body which is flesh. For
even if our adversaries suggest some sort of body which is not of
flesh, certainly it can have no blood in it if it is not of flesh. So
the proof that there is a body will stand firm by the evidence of
flesh, as the proof that there is flesh stands by the evidence of
blood. And so that you may recognize in wine an ancient figure
for blood,2 Isaiah will help: Who is this that cometh out of Edom, the
redness of his garments out of Bozrah, so glorious in apparel which is
violent with strength? Wherefore the redness of thy garments, and thy
vestments as from the outlet of the winepress, full and trodden down?h
For the prophetic Spirit, as one having already in full view our
Lord coming to his passion, clothed of course in flesh, since in
it he suffered, indicates by that redness of apparel the blood-
stained garment of his flesh that was trodden down and strained
out by the violence of the passion, as in the outfall of a winepress—
because it is from a winepress that men come down as if stained
with blood from the redness of wine. Much more evidently did
Genesis in the blessing of Judah, of whose tribe the origin of
Christ's flesh was to proceed, as early as that depict Christ in
Judah: He shall wash his garment in wine and his vesture in the blood
of the grape:i
by garment and vesture indicating his flesh, and by
wine his blood. So now also he consecrated his blood in wine, as
he had of old used wine as a figure for blood.

41. [Luke 22: 22, 33-4, 54-71.] Woe, he says, to that man by whom
the Son of man is betrayed.
So now it is confirmed that woe must be
understood as a calling down of wrath and threatening, and be
taken as the expression of one angry and offended—unless perhaps
Judas was to commit with impunity so great a crime. If with
impunity, the woe is pointless: if not with impunity, then he must
expect to be punished by him against whom he has committed
the crime of betrayal. Now if he knowingly permitted a man whom

40. 2 Epiphanius, Panarion 42. 3. 3, says that water was used at a Marcionite
Eucharist. At I. 14, when speaking of Marcionite practice, Tertullian does
not mention wine. The present passage reads like a strong suggestion that
Marcionites ought to observe the dominical command.


IV.41 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 497

he had himself elected into his company, to plunge into so great
a crime, you can no longer bring under discussion concerning the
Creator, in the matter of Adam, objections which recoil back on
your own god as well—that he either did not know, seeing he did
not by providence prevent the sinner: that he was unable to
prevent him, if he did not know: or was unwilling to do so, if he
both knew and was able: and therefore must be judged of evil
intent, as having permitted his own man to perish for his sin.
I advise you therefore to recognize the Creator in this <Christ>,
rather than make your supremely good god like him, contrary
to your own doctrine. Also when Peter has made a rash utterance,
and he turns him rather in the direction of denial, you can see he
is a jealous god.1 Moreover, as he was the Christ of the prophets
it was his due to be betrayed with a kiss, being the Son of him
whom the people loved with their lips. When brought into the
council he is asked whether he is himself the Christ. With reference
to what Christ could the Jews have asked this question, except
their own? Why then did he not, even then, tell them of that other ?
Because, you answer, he had to be able to suffer. By which you
mean, so that he, supremely good, might plunge into crime those
who were still ignorant. 'But even if he had told them, he would
still have suffered: for he said, If I tell you, ye will not believe: and
by refusing to believe, they would have continued to demand his
death.' But surely he would have been more likely to suffer if he
had declared himself <the Christ> of that other god, and conse-
quently an opponent of the Creator. And so it was not with the
intention of suffering that he forbore even then to explain that
he was different: but because they desired to extort a confession
from his own mouth, and yet even if he confessed were not going
to believe, though they ought to have known who he was from
his works which were in fulfilment of the scriptures, it was his
right, as one to whom unchallenged recognition was due, to hide
himself from them. And for all that he still gives them a chance,
when he says, Hereafter shall the Son of man be seated at the right hand
of the power of God.
From Daniel's prophecy he put himself before

41. 1 A jealous god. A note by Franciscus Junius explains this to mean that
Christ delivered over to temptation a disciple who had made a rash promise,
with intent that the glory might belong to himself alone. But, we add, tibi
marks this as a debating point against Marcion: it is Marcion's Christ who takes
action which Marcion stigmatizes as characteristic of the Creator.


IV.42 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 499

them as the Son of man,a and from David's psalm as sitting at the
right hand of God.b And so from that saying of his, and its bring-
ing together of <two texts of> scripture, they were fully enlightened
as to whom he wished them to take him to be, and asked him,
Art thou then the Son of God? Of what god, if not the only God
they knew about? Of what god, if not him who they remembered
had said in the psalm to his son, Sit thou on my right hand? 'But he
answers, Ye say it, as though it were, I do not.' No, but he affirmed
that he was that which they had said when they asked him that
second time. Yet how can you prove that they were asking a
question, and not themselves making the statement when they
said Thou art then the Son of God? In that case, as he had indirectly
proved by the scriptures that they must understand he was the
Son of God, and they perceived this—Thou art then the Son of
God, which thou art unwilling to declare openly—he likewise
answers in the affirmative, Ye say it: and so clearly was this his
meaning, that they continued in the impression which his state-
ment indicated.

42. [Luke 23.] So when they had led him to Pilate they began
to accuse him of saying he was Christ a King, meaning no doubt
the Son of God, who was to sit at God's right hand. Surely they
would have arraigned him under some other charge, being in
doubt whether he had said he was the Son of God, if he had not
by the statement Ye say it, indicated that he was what they said.
Also when Pilate asked, Art thou the Christ?1 he answered again
Thou sayest it, so that he might not seem, through fear of the au-
thority, to have refused to answer. So the Lord is set in judgement,
and has set in judgement his own people. The Lord himself is come
into judgement with the ancients and the princes of his people,a
as Isaiah
has it. From then onwards he fulfilled all that is written of his
passion. The heathen thereupon raged, and the peoples imagined vain
things: the kings of the earth stood up, and their rulers gathered together
into one, against the Lord and against his Christ.b The heathen,
the
Romans who were with Pilate; the peoples, the tribes of Israel:
the kings, in Herod: the rulers, in the high priests. Also when he
was sent by Pilate as a gift to Herod he proved the truth of
Hosea's words: for it was of Christ that he prophesied, And they

42. 1 Pilate's question was 'Art thou the King of the Jews?': the chief priests
asked, 'Art thou the Christ?'—Luke 22: 66 sq.


IV.42 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 501

shall bring him in bonds as a present to the king.c So Herod was exceed-
ing glad to see Jesus, yet he heard from him not a word: for as
a lamb before the shearer he opened not his mouth,d
because the Lord
had given him the tongue of discipline, that he might know in
what manner he ought to bring forth speech:e that tongue in
fact which in the psalm clove to his throat,f he now proved the
truth of by not speaking. Barabbas, a man of most criminal con-
duct, is released as though a good man: while Christ, most
righteous, is demanded for death as though a murderer. Also
two malefactors are crucified along with him, that he might be
numbered among the transgressors. Evidently the statement that
his raiment was divided among the soldiers and partly assigned
by lot, has been excised by Marcion, because he had in mind
the prophecy of the psalm, They parted my garments among them,
and upon my vesture did they cast lots.g
So he will have to excise the
Cross as well, for the same psalm is not silent about it: They
pierced my hands and my feet.h
The whole of what followed is to be
read there. Dogs are come about me, the council of the wicked hath laid
siege against me: all they that saw me laughed me to scorn: they have
spoken with their lips and wagged their heads <saying>, He trusted in
God, let him deliver him.i
What now of the evidence of his garments?
Have the benefit of your falsifying: Christ's garments are the
whole psalm. See also how the powers of heaven are shaken:
it was their Lord who was dying. If his rival had been in distress
the whole heaven would have blossomed out with lights, the sun
would have leaped up with his rays, the day would have preferred
to remain bright, gladly looking on while Marcion's Christ was
crucified. These proofs would have been at my disposal even if
they had not been prophesied. I will clothe the heaven with darkness,j
says Isaiah. This also will be the day of which Amos speaks:
And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that the sun shall go
down at noon—
you see also the significance of the sixth hour—
and there shall be darkness over the land.k Also the veil of the temple
was rent, by the breaking out of the angel, who deserted the
daughter of Sion, leaving her as a watch-tower in a vineyard
and a lodge in a garden of cucumbers.l And see how it continues,
even in the thirtieth psalm, to present Christ in his own person:
he cries aloud to the Father, so as even in dying, with his last
words, to fulfil the prophets:m And having said thus, he gave up his
spirit.
Who did? Did the spirit give up itself, or the flesh give


IV.43 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 503

up the spirit? But the spirit cannot have given up itself: there is
a difference between the one which gives up and the other which
is given up. If the spirit is given up, it has to be given up by some-
thing else: whereas if the spirit had been by itself, the word used
would have been 'depart' and not 'give up'. Who is it then that
gives up the spirit, if not the flesh? For the flesh breathes while
it has the spirit, and therefore when it loses it, gives it up. In
short, if there was no flesh, but only a phantasm of flesh, and there
was also a phantasm of spirit, and the spirit gave itself up, and
by giving itself up departed, then no doubt the phantasm de-
parted when the spirit, which was a phantasm, departed, and
the phantasm along with the spirit ceased to be there. In that
case, nothing remained on the cross, after he gave up his spirit
nothing was hanging there, nothing was begged for from Pilate,
nothing was taken down from that gallows, nothing was wrapped
in linen, nothing was laid in a new sepulchre. And yet it was not
nothing. What then was it? If a phantasm, then Christ was still
within it. If Christ had gone away, then he had taken the
phantasm with him. It only remains for heretical presumption
to say that a phantasm of a phantasm remained there. Though
if Joseph knew that that was a real body which he had treated
with so great affection—that Joseph who had not consented
with the Jews in their crime—Blessed is the man who hath not gone
away in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, and hath
not sat in the seat of the pestilences.n

43. [Luke 24.] It was indeed necessary that the man who pro-
vided for the Lord's burial should be spoken of in prophecy, and
in that same text deservedly be called blessed: for neither does
prophecy leave unnoticed the services of those women who came
to the sepulchre before daybreak with the spices they had pre-
pared. Of this he speaks by Hosea: That they may seek my face,
before daybreak will they be awake unto me saying, Let us go and return
unto the Lord, because he hath torn and will heal us, he hath smitten and
will have mercy upon us: after two days will he heal us, and on the third day
we shall rise again.a
Who can forbear to believe that these words
recurred again and again in the thoughts of those women between
the grief of their present destitution, with which they seemed to
themselves smitten by the Lord, and the hope of his resurrection,
by which they rightly thought to be restored? By his body not


IV.43 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 505

being found, his sepulture was taken away out of the midst, as Isaiah
says.b Also in the same place two angels were seen: this number
of attendants was the customary usage of that Word of God
which by two witnesses is established. The women returning
from the sepulchre, and from that vision of angels, were foreseen
by Isaiah, who says: Ye women, coming from the vision, come ye,c
evidently to report the Lord's resurrection. It is well also that the
disciples' unbelief persisted, so that right to the end our claim
should stand that to the disciples Christ Jesus had declared him-
self no other than the Christ of the prophets. For when two of
them were on a journey, and the Lord had joined himself with
them, while it did not appear that it was he himself, and he even
pretended not to be aware of the things that had happened, they
said, But we were thinking that he himself was the Redeemer of Israel,
evidently Israel's, and the Creator's, Christ. To that extent had
he never declared himself any other. Otherwise they would not
have supposed him the Creator's: and when he was supposed to
be the Creator's, he would not have tolerated this supposition
about himself if he had not been who he was supposed to be.
Otherwise he must be thought of as the author of error and a
renegade from the truth: and this will not suit your description
of him as a god supremely good. But not even after his resurrec-
tion did he show them that he was any different from him they
said they thought him to be. It is true that he severely rebuked
them: O fools, and slow of heart in not believing all the things which
he spoke to you.
In saying this he proves he belongs not to another
god but to the same God. For the angels had said the same to the
women: Remember the things he spoke to you in Galilee, saying that the
Son of man must needs be delivered up, and be crucified, and the third
day rise again.
And why 'must needs', except it was so written by
God the Creator ? That is why he rebuked them, for being offended
at his passion, and nothing more, and for being doubtful in the
faith of the resurrection reported to them by the women, and for
these reasons ceasing to believe that he was who they had
trusted he had been. And so, since it was his wish to be believed
to be that which they had trusted he was, he affirmed that he was
who they had trusted he was, the Creator's Christ, the Redeemer
of Israel. Now concerning the verity of his body, what could be
clearer? When they were in doubt whether he were not a phan-
tasm, or even supposed that he was a phantasm, he said to them,


IV.43 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 507

Why are ye troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts ? Behold
my hands and feet, that it is I myself: for a spirit hath not bones, as ye
see me having.
Now here Marcion, on purpose I believe, has ab-
stained from crossing out of his gospel certain matters opposed to
him, hoping that in view of these which he might have crossed
out and has not, he may be thought not to have crossed out those
which he has crossed out, or even to have crossed them out with
good reason. But he is only sparing to statements which he pro-
ceeds to overturn by strange interpretation no less than by dele-
tion. He will have it then that <the words> A spirit hath not bones as
ye see me having,
were so spoken as to be referred to the spirit, 'as
ye see me having', meaning, not having bones, even as a spirit
has not. And what sense would there be in such a round-about
way of putting it, when he might have said quite plainly, For
a spirit hath not bones, as ye see that I have not'? Why again
did he offer his hands and feet for them to examine—and these
members consist of bones—if he had no bones? Why does he add,
And know that it is I myself, though of course they knew beforehand 
that he had a body? Or else, if he was in every respect a
phantasm, why did he upbraid them for thinking him a phantasm? 
And yet, while they still believed not, he asked them for
food, so as to show that he even had teeth.

I have, I think, fulfilled my promise. I have set before you
Jesus as the Christ of the prophets in his doctrines, his judgements,
his affections, his feelings, his miracles, his sufferings, as also in
his resurrection, none other than the Christ of the Creator. And
so again, when sending forth his apostles to preach to all the
nations,d he fulfilled the psalm by his instruction that their sound
must go out into all the world and their words unto the ends of
the earth.e I am sorry for you, Marcion: your labour has been in
vain. Even in your gospel Christ Jesus is mine.

 


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Ernest Evans(ed), Tertullian: Adversus Marcionem. © Oxford University Press. 1972.  Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press.

Edited and translated by Canon Ernest Evans, 1972
Transcribed by Roger Pearse, 2002

Greek text is rendered using the Scholars Press
SPIonic font, free from here.


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