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BOOK III

1. Continuing with my reconstruction of the work which was
lost, and following its original lines, I have now to treat of the
Christ, even though, by having completed my proof that divinity
necessarily implies unity, I have rendered this superfluous. That
the Christ cannot be thought of as belonging to any god except
the Creator is involved in the decision already arrived at, that
there cannot be any god besides the Creator. This is the Creator
whom Christ preached: and the apostles after him proclaimed
Christ as belonging to no other god than that God, the Creator,
whom Christ had preached: so much so, that no mention was
ever made of a second god or a second Christ until Marcion's
offence came in. This is quite easily proved by a review of the
apostolic churches and those of the heretics—namely, that where
we find late appearance, there we must decide that the rule of
the faith has been overturned. I have touched upon this already
in my first book. But now again this discussion, like bees swarming,
breaks off to treat of the Christ separately, and will have the
result that in proving that Christ is the Creator's we shut out
Marcion's god from this side as well. It is seemly that the truth
should make use of all its resources: not that it is in danger of
being overwhelmed—in fact it wins its case by the short-cut of
prescriptions—but because it is eager to meet at every point an
adversary so beside himself that he would rather assume the
arrival of a Christ of whom there had been no previous announce-
ment, than of one who has been foretold of all down the ages.

2. Now for my first line of attack. I suggest that he had no right
to come so unexpectedly. For two reasons. First because he too
was the son of his own god.1 Proper order required that father
should tell of son's existence before son told of father's, and father
bear witness to son before son bore witness to father. Secondly,
besides this matter of sonship, he was an emissary. The sender's
acknowledgement ought to have come first, in commendation

2. 1 Elsewhere, e.g. at I. 11. 8, it is implied that Marcion's superior god came
down in person as Christ.


III.3 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 173

of the one who was sent. No one who comes by another's authority
lays claim to it for himself, on his own bare statement, but looks
for his credentials to the authority itself, headed by the style and
title of the person who grants the authority. Moreover none can
be recognized as a son unless a father has given him that name,
nor can any be accepted as messenger unless he has been nomi-
nated by some person whose commission he holds. The naming
and the nomination would certainly have been on record if there
had been a father, or one to grant a commission. Anything that
diverges from the rule is bound to be suspect: and the primary
rule of all is that which does not permit son to vouch for father,
or agent for principal, or Christ for god. As that from which
a thing originates came first in the ordaining of it, so it comes
first in men's knowledge of it. Here you have a son unexpected,
an agent unexpected, a Christ unexpected. But I suggest that
with God nothing is unexpected, because with God nothing
exists unordained. If then it was ordained beforehand, why was
it not also announced beforehand, so that the announcement
might prove it ordained, and the ordaining prove it divine? And
surely there is another reason why so great a work, one taken in
hand for man's salvation, could not have been unexpected—
that it was to become effective through faith. It had to be believed,
or remain ineffective. And so it required preparatory work in
order to be credible—preparatory work built upon foundations
of previous intention and prior announcement. Only by being
built up in this order could faith with good cause be imposed
upon man by God, and shown towards God by man—a faith
which, since there was knowledge, might be required to believe
because belief was a possibility, and in fact had learned to believe
by virtue of that previous announcement.

3. There was no need, you say, for such an ordering of events,
seeing that he would immediately by the evidence of miracles
prove himself in actual fact both son and emissary, and the Christ
of God. My answer will be that this form of proof by itself could
never have provided satisfactory testimony to him, and in fact
he himself subsequently discounted it. When he affirmed that
many would come, and would work signs and perform great
miracles, to the leading astray even of the elect,a but must not
on that account be made welcome, he made it clear that the


III.3 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 175

credit of signs and miracles is precarious, as these are quite easy
even for false Christs to perform. How could he possibly have
been content to accept for himself approval and understanding
and recognition from sources—miracles, I mean—which he dis-
allowed in the case of others who themselves were to come no less
unexpectedly, vouched for by no previous announcement? If you
suggest that by coming before these others, by having, before they
did, marked as his own the evidences of miracles, he had staked his
claim to credit, as one marks one's turn at the baths, and had
thus forestalled all later comers, take care that he himself is not
caught in the position of those late-comers, when he is seen to
have come later than the Creator who had been known long
before, had in consequence worked miracles long before, and in
similar terms had given warning that no credence was to be
given to others—others after him, that is. It follows that if the
fact that one has come first, and has first made this pronounce-
ment concerning those who should come later, is to discredit
these in advance, he will himself have been condemned in advance
by that one subsequent to whom he too has come to our notice:
the Creator alone, who cannot be subsequent to anyone, will
have the right to lay down this rule against late-comers. That
being so, I propose to prove that the same miracles which are
the only evidence you lay claim to for belief in your Christ, the
Creator had already of old wrought from time to time by his
servants, and from time to time had indicated that they would
be performed by his Christ: and from this I can with justice
claim that miracles are no sufficient reason for <your> acceptance
of Christ, the more so as those miracles would have been capable
of proving that Christ belongs to the Creator and no other, since
they correspond with those miracles of the Creator which he
performed by his servants and promised in expectation of his own
Christ. And besides, even if other evidences were found in your
Christ, new ones I mean, we should find it easier to believe that
even the new ones belonged to the same <God> as did the old
ones, and not to a god who possesses none but new things, such
as have not been submitted to the test of that antiquity which
gives faith its victory. So his coming would need to have been
indicated by previous announcements of his own to build up
credibility for him, as well as by miracles, especially as he was
going to present himself as an opponent of the Creator's Christ,


III.4 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 177

himself furnished with his own particular signs and prophecies.
Only so could his rivalry of Christ be made clearly evident by all
possible forms of difference. Yet how could a god never previously
prophesied of, prophesy beforehand of any Christ of his? This
it is then that demands that no credence be given either to your
god or to your Christ: a god had no right to remain unknown,
and a Christ did require to obtain recognition by virtue of a
god's commendation.

4. Your god was too proud, I suppose, to copy our God's ordering
of events, since he disapproved of him and thought he would soon
be shown wrong. Himself a newcomer, he decided to come in
novel fashion, the son before the father's acknowledgement, the
emissary before his principal's warrant. In this way he would
become the inventor of a faith most unnatural, in which belief
in Christ's coming would precede any knowledge of his existence.
It occurs to me here to discuss this further question, why he did
not let (the Creator's) Christ come first. For when I perceive
that through long ages his god with supreme patience suffered
a cruel Creator to announce from time to time among men his
Christ, and, whatever his reason, delayed either to reveal himself
or to intervene, for the same reason I suggest he owed the Creator
the further patience of letting him complete his arrangements in
respect of his, the Creator's, Christ: in that way, when the whole
activity of the hostile God and the hostile Christ was perfect and
complete, he would have been able to superpose upon it ordi-
nances of his own. But he became tired of all that patience, for
we see that he has not waited until the end of the Creator's
activities. There is no point in his having borne with the Creator's
Christ being announced in advance, when he has not waited
for his actual appearance. Either he was unjustified in breaking
into another's course of events, or he was unjustified in so long
abstaining from breaking into it. What was it that delayed him?
or what that shook his patience? In effect, he is at fault in both
directions, revealing himself too belatedly after the Creator, yet
too soon before his Christ. The former he ought to have confuted
long ago, the latter not yet. The savagery of the former he ought
not to have borne with so long, the repose of the latter he ought not
yet to have disturbed. In respect of both of them he falls short of
his claim to be a god supremely good: himself without question

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III.5 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 179

fickle and untrustworthy, lukewarm against the Creator, hot
against his Christ, on both sides ineffective: he has neither put
restraint on the Creator nor set a barrier against his Christ. The
Creator is still at large, the same as ever: a Christ is still to come,
as it is written that he will. Why has he come after the Creator,
whose faults he has had no power to correct? Why was he brought
out of hiding before the Creator's Christ, whose coming he cannot
prevent? Or else, if he did correct the Creator's faults, he revealed
himself rather late, so that things to be corrected might come
first: in which case, as he was no less intending to correct the
Creator's Christ, he ought to have waited a little longer, and then
he might have come afterwards as a corrector of him as well as of
the Creator. It is another matter if he too is to come again after
that other, so that at his first coming he should have taken proceed-
ings against the Creator by destroying his law and prophets, while
at the second he will proceed against the Creator's Christ, dis-
proving his kingship. As he will at that event complete his course,
at that event, if ever, he will deserve our credence: or else, if his
business is now already completed, his <second> coming will be
devoid of purpose, seeing he will have nothing to do.

5. So much for skirmishing, as it might be at the first advance,
and still at a distance. As from this point I take up the real battle,
fighting hand to hand, I see I must even now mark off some
front line at which the contest is to be carried on—I mean the
Creator's scriptures. In accordance with these I propose to prove
that Christ belonged to the Creator, seeing that in his Christ they
were afterwards fulfilled: and so I find it necessary to set out the
form and, so to speak, the character of these scriptures, to prevent
them from being dragged into controversy as often as they are
applied to special cases, and, by the intermixture of the defence
of themselves with that of the case in hand, blunting the reader's
attention. So from now on I demand that our opponents acknow-
ledge two special cases of prophetic diction. The first is that by
which things future are sometimes set down as if they had already
taken place.1 For it is within the competence of deity to account
complete all things it has already decided upon, because in God's
sight there is no distinction of tense, since with him eternity itself
controls a condition in which all tenses are alike. Thus it is the

5. 1 Past and future in prophecy: Justin, dial. 114; Irenaeus, demonstr. 67.


III.6 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 181

more usual practice of prophetic divination to set down what it
foresees, while it foresees it, as already seen and so already made
actual, with no doubt, that is, of its future fulfilment: so, in Isaiah,
I gave my back to the scourging, and my cheeks to the smiting, I turned
not my face away from spitting.a
For whether, as we interpret it, it
was Christ so early as that making a pronouncement regarding
himself, or whether, as the Jews would have it, the prophet was
speaking of himself, in either case he was reporting a thing not
yet done, as though it were already accomplished. Another form
of speech will be that by which not a few things are set forth
figuratively by means of enigmas and allegories and parables,
and are to be understood otherwise than as they are written.2
And so we read that the mountains will distil sweetness,b yet
not so that you should expect fruit-juice from stones or wine from
rocks: and we hear of a land flowing with milk and honey,c yet
not for you to think you will ever squeeze cakes and sweetmeats
out of clods of earth: nor did God in set terms promise to be a
water-diviner or a forester when he said, I will set rivers in a thirsty
land, and the box-tree and the cedar in the wilderness.d
So also when he
tells of the conversion of the gentiles, and says, The beasts of the
field shall bless me, the sirens and the daughters of the sparrows,e
he is
certainly not expecting to receive favourable omens from swallows'
fledgelings or from little foxes or from those preternatural
fabulous women singers. Why need I say more of this practice?
Even the heretics' own apostle interprets as concerning not oxen
but ourselves that law which grants an unmuzzled mouth to the
oxen that tread out the corn,f and affirms that the rock that
followed them to provide drink was Christ,g in the same way as
he instructs the Galatians that the two narratives of the sons of
Abraham took their course as an allegory,h and advises the
Ephesians that that which was foretold in the beginning, that
a man would leave his father and mother, and that he and his
wife would become one flesh, is seen by him to refer to Christ and
the Church.i

6. If we are for the moment in sufficient agreement concerning
these two peculiarities of Jewish literature, the reader has to
remember that we have agreed that when we adduce anything
of this nature there is to be discussion not of the form of scripture,

5. 2 Types and figures: Justin, dial. 68, 72, 90, 130.


III. 6 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 183

but of the facts of the case. So then, since heretical madness was
claiming that that Christ had come who had never been previously
mentioned, it followed that it had to contend that that Christ
was not yet come who had from all time been foretold: and so
it was compelled to form an alliance with Jewish error, and
from it to build up an argument for itself, on the pretext
that the Jews, assured that he who has come was an alien, not
only rejected him as a stranger but even put him to death as an
opponent, although they would beyond doubt have recognized
him and have treated him with all religious devotion if he had
been their own. It can have been no Rhodian law,1 but a Pontic
one, which assured this shipmaster that the Jews were incapable
of making a mistake respecting their Christ; although, even if
nothing of this sort were found to have been spoken in prophecies
against them, human nature alone and by itself, wide open to
deception, might have persuaded him that the Jews could have
made a mistake, being men, and that it would be wrong to use
as a precedent the judgement of persons who had likely enough
been mistaken. But seeing there were also prophecies that the
Jews would not recognize Christ and would therefore destroy
him, it at once follows that he who was unrecognized by them,
he whom they put to death, is the one whom they were marked
down beforehand as going to treat in this fashion. If you demand
proof of this, I shall not turn up those scriptures which by pro-
nouncing that Christ will be put to death thereby assert that he
will be unrecognized—for unless he had been unrecognized he
could surely not have suffered <at their hands>—but, keeping
these in reserve for the discussion of his passion, I shall be content
at present to adduce those prophecies which prove that Christ
would be for a time unrecognized. They do so in summary form,
as they point out that the whole faculty of understanding was
taken away from the people by the Creator. I will take away, he
says, the wisdom of their wise, and will cover up the prudence of their
prudent
:a and, Ye shall hear with the ear, and shall not hear, and ye
shall see with the eyes and shall not see: for the heart of this people is
become gross, and with their ears they have heard heavily, and their eyes
they have closed, lest they should ever hear with their ears, and see with
their eyes, and conceive in their heart, and be converted, and I should heal

6. 1 Rhodian maritime law was in high repute; some of its provisions were
incorporated in the Digest.


III. 6 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 185

them.b This blunting of their salutary senses they had earned for
themselves by loving God with their lips, but with their heart
withdrawing far from him. Consequently, if the announcement of
Christ was indeed made by the Creator who established! the
thunder and closeth up the spirit and announceth unto men his
Christ, according to the prophet Joel,c and if all the hope of the
Jews, not to mention also the gentiles, was made to look forward
to Christ's revealing, beyond doubt they were stigmatized,
through deprivation of their powers of recognition and under-
standing, their wisdom and prudence, as not likely to recognize
or understand that which was announced <as not understood>,
namely, Christ: for their principal wise men, the scribes, and their
prudent men, the pharisees, were to be in error against him; as
likewise the people were to hear with their ears and not hear—
Christ teaching—and to see with their eyes and not see—Christ
working miracles—as it is said also in another place, And who
is blind but my servants, and who is deaf but he who lords it over them?d
Also when he upbraids them, by Isaiah once more, I have begotten
and brought up children, but they have rejected me: the ox knoweth his
owner and the ass his master's crib, but Israel doth not know me and the
people hath not understood mee—we
for our part, assured that Christ
has always spoken in the prophets—being the Spirit of the
Creator, as the prophet testifies, The person of our spirit, Christ the
Lord,2,f
who since the beginning, as the Father's representative,
has been both heard and seen, under the name of God—we, I
say, know that his were those words of this sort, when he even as
early as that rebuked Israel for the sins it was prophesied they
would commit against him: Ye have forsaken the Lord, and have
provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger.g
If however you will have it
that this whole imputation of Jewish ignorance since the first
beginning refers not to Christ but rather to God himself, if you
refuse to admit that even in the past the Word and Spirit, the
Christ of the Creator, was despised by them and unrecognized,
even then you will be confuted. For as you do not deny that the
Creator's Christ is the Son and the Spirit and the substance of
the Creator,3 you have to admit that such as did not recognize
the Father were incapable also of recognizing the Son, because

6. 2 This is at variance with both the Hebrew and LXX; cf. adv. Prax.
14.

3 Word, spirit, substance: see above, II. 9, n. 1.


III. 7 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 187

he is one and the same substance, with the same attributes, and
if the fullness of this was beyond their understanding, so, a fortiori,
was the derivative, seeing it is joint possessor with the fullness.
If these facts are thus considered, it is now apparent for what
reason the Jews both rejected Christ and put him to death—not
because they took Christ for a stranger, but because though their
own, they did not accept him. For how could they have taken
for a stranger one of whom no announcement had ever been
made, when they had been incapable of understanding him who
had at all times been the subject of prophecy? The possibility of
being understood or not being understood arises when some fact,
by having a foundation in prophecy, is able also to provide subject-
matter for acknowledgement or for error: whereas that which is
devoid of subject-matter has no room for wisdom or its outcome.
Consequently, it was not as belonging to another god that they
objected to Christ and persecuted him, but as being nothing
more than a man, whom they supposed to be a magician4 in his
miracles, and their opponent in his doctrines: with the result
that this man, as belonging to them, being a Jew, yet a perverter
and overthrower of Judaism, they brought to judgement and
punished by their law: a stranger they would certainly not have
judged. So far are they from appearing to have taken Christ for
a stranger, that it was not as a stranger that they brought his
manhood5 to judgement.

7.1 It is now possible for the heretic to learn, and the Jew as well,
what he ought to know already, the reason for the Jew's errors:
for from the Jew the heretic has accepted guidance in this dis-
cussion, the blind borrowing from the blind, and has fallen into
the same ditch. I affirm that two descriptions of Christ, set forth
by the prophets, indicated beforehand an equal number of
advents: one of them, the first, in humility, when he was to be
led like a sheep to sacrifice, and as a lamb before his shearer is
voiceless so he opens not his mouth, and not even in form was

6. 4 Planus: the Greek word pla&noj, magician or deceiver, quoted from Matt.
27:63.

5 Hominem eius: Latin authors habitually used this expression for Christ's
human nature, without any suggestion of a double personality: so adv. Prax.
30. 2.

7. 1 This chapter is taken up again, adv. Jud. 14: cf. apol. 21. 15; Justin, dial.
31, 49, 52, 110, 121; Irenaeus, A.H. IV. 1.


III. 7 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 189

he comely. For, he says, We have announced concerning him: as a little
boy, as a root in thirsty ground: and he has no appearance nor glory, and we
saw him, and he had no appearance or beauty, but his appearance was un-
honoured, defective more than the sons of men, a man in sorrow, and knowing
how to bear infirmity:a
because set by the Father for a stone of stum-
bling and a rock of offence.b Made
by him a little lower than the angels :c
declaring himself a worm and no man, the scorn of man and the outcast of
the people.d
These tokens of ignobility apply to the first advent, as
the tokens of sublimity apply to the second, when he will become
no longer a stone of stumbling or a rock of offence, but the chief
corner-stone, after rejection taken back again and set on high
at the summit of the temple—that is, the Church—that rock in
fact mentioned by Daniel, which was carved out of a mountain,
which will break in pieces and grind to powder the image of the
kingdoms of this world.2,e Concerning this advent the same prophet
speaks: And behold, one like a son of man coming with the clouds of
heaven, came even to the Ancient of days: he was in his presence: and the
attendants brought him forward, and there was given to him royal power,
and all nations of the earth after their kinds, and all glory to serve <him>,
and his power even for ever, that shall not be taken away, and his kingdom,
that shall not be destroyed:f
then, it means, he will have an honourable
appearance, and beauty unfading, more than the sons of men.
For it says, Fairer in beauty beyond the sons of men; grace is poured
forth in thy lips; therefore God hath blessed thee for ever. Gird the sword
upon thy thigh, O most mighty in thy worshipfulness and thy beauty.g
Then also the Father, now that he has made him a little lower than
the angels, will crown him with glory and honour, and will put
all things beneath his feet. Then those who pierced him will
know who he is, and will smite their breasts, tribe to tribe—
because in fact they formerly failed to recognize him in the
humility of human condition: And he is a man, says Jeremiah,
and who shall know him?h Because also, Isaiah says, His nativity,
who shall tell of it?i
So also in Zechariah, in the person of Jeshua,
yes truly, in a name which is itself a sacrament, the veritable
high priest of the Father, Christ Jesus, is by two styles of raiment
marked out for two advents: he is at first clothed in filthy gar-
ments, which means the indignity of passible and mortal flesh,
when also the devil stands as his adversary, the devil who put
it into the heart of Judas the traitor, not to mention himself

7. 2 On Dan. 2: 34 cf. Justin, dial. 70.


III. 8 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 191

being the tempter after <Christ's> baptism: afterwards he is divested
of his previous foulness, and arrayed in robe and mitre and shining
crown, which means the glory and dignity of his second coming.3
If also I am to submit an interpretation of the two goats which
were offered at the Fast,j are not these also figures of Christ's two
activities?4 They are indeed of the same age and appearance
because the Lord's is one and the same aspect: because he will
return in no other form, seeing he has to be recognized by those
of whom he has suffered injury. One of them however, surrounded
with scarlet, cursed and spit upon and pulled about and pierced,
was by the people driven out of the city into perdition, marked
with manifest tokens of our Lord's passion: while the other, made
an offering for sins, and given as food to the priests of the temple,
marked the tokens of his second manifestation, at which, when
all sins have been done away, the priests of the spiritual temple,
which is the Church, were to enjoy as it were a feast of our Lord's
grace, while the rest remain without a taste of salvation. So then,
seeing that the first advent was for the most part prophesied
under the obscurity of figures, and borne down with every sort
of indignity, while the second was both clearly told of, and was
of divine dignity, they set their eyes on that one alone which they
could easily understand and easily believe, the second, and thus
were, as might have been expected, misled in respect of the less
evident, admittedly less dignified, which was the first. Thus even
until this day they refuse to admit that their Christ has come,
because he has not come in majesty, being unaware that he was
first also to come in humility.

8. Let the heretic now give up borrowing poison from the Jew,—
the asp, as they say, from the viper: let him from now on belch
forth the slime of his own particular devices, as he maintains that
Christ was a phantasm: except that this opinion too will have
had other inventors, those so to speak premature and abortive
Marcionites whom the apostle John pronounced antichrists, who
denied that Christ was come in the flesh,a yet not with the inten-
tion of setting up the law of a second god—else for this too they
would have been censured <by the apostle>—but because they
had assumed it incredible that God <should take to him human>

7. 3 On Zech. 3 cf. Justin, dial. 115, 116.

4 The two goats at the Atonement, Justin, dial. 40; other types, dial. 111.


III. 8 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 193

flesh. So Marcion, even more of an antichrist, seized upon this
assumption, being better equipped in fact for denial of Christ's
corporal substance, in that he had postulated that even Christ's
god was neither the creator of flesh nor would raise it to life
again—in this too supremely good, and entirely divergent from
the lies and deceptions of the Creator. And that is why his Christ,
so as not to tell lies, or to deceive, and in this fashion perhaps be
accounted as belonging to the Creator, was not that which he
appeared to be, and told lies about what he was—being flesh
and not flesh, man and not man, and in consequence a Christ
<who was> god and not god. For why should he not also have
been clothed in a phantasm of god? Or can I believe what he
says of his more recondite substance, when he has deceived me
about that which was more evident? How shall he be accounted
truthful about the secret thing, who has been found so deceptive
about the obvious ? How can it have been that by confusing with-
in himself truth of the spirit with deceit of the flesh, he conjoined
that fellowship of light, which is truth, and deception, which is
darkness, that the apostle says is impossible?b Also, now that it
is found to be a lie that Christ <was made> flesh, it follows that
all things that were done by means of Christ's flesh were done
by a lie, his meetings with people, his touching of them, his
partaking of food, his miracles besides. For if by touching some-
one, or being touched by someone, he gave freedom from sickness,
the act performed by the body cannot be credited as truly per-
formed apart from the verity of the body itself. It was not feasible
for anything solid to be performed by that which is void, anything
full by that which is empty. Putative constitution, putative
activity: imaginary operator, imaginary operations. Thus also
the sufferings of Marcion's Christ will fail to find credence: one
who has not truly suffered, has not suffered at all, and a phantasm
cannot have truly suffered. Consequently God's whole operation
is overthrown. There is a denial of Christ's death, the whole
weight and value of the Christian name, that death which the
apostle so firmly insists on, because it is true, declaring it the
chief foundation of the gospel, of our salvation, and of his own
preaching. For I delivered unto you, he says, fast of all, that Christ
died for our sins, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third
day.c
But if his flesh is denied, how can his death be affirmed? For
death is the particular experience of flesh, which by means of

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III. 9 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 195

death is turned downwards into the earth from which it was taken:
such is the law of its own Creator. But if the death is denied, as
it is when the flesh is denied, neither can there be assurance of
the resurrection. By whatever reasoning he did not die, by the
same reasoning he did not rise again: which was that he had
not the substance of flesh, to which death appertains, and likewise
resurrection. But further, if doubt is cast upon Christ's resurrec-
tion, ours also is overthrown: for if Christ's is not valid, neither
can that be valid for the sake of which Christ came. For just as
those who said there was no resurrection of the dead are con-
futed by the apostle from the resurrection of Christ, so also, if
Christ's resurrection fails, the resurrection of the dead is also
taken away. And so also our faith is vain, and vain is the apostles'
preaching.d They are also found false witnesses of God, because
they have borne witness that he has raised up Christ, whom he
has not raised up. And we are yet in our sins. And those who are
fallen asleep in Christ, have perished—no doubt they will rise
again, but in a phantasm perhaps, as Christ did.

9.1 If in this inquiry you think you can set against me the Creator's
angels, alleging that they also, when in converse with Abraham
and Lot,a were in a phantasm, evidently of putative flesh, and
yet really met with them, and partook of food, and performed
the task committed to them, <my answer will be> first, that you
have no claim upon the evidences of that God whom you are
concerned to depose. For, the more superior and the more perfect
the character of the god you are commending, the more un-
becoming to him are evidences belonging to that other: for unless
he is entirely diverse from him he cannot be in any sense better
or more perfect. Secondly, take note besides that we do not admit
your claim that in those angels the flesh was putative: it was of
veritable and complete human substance. For if it was not difficult
for God to display true perceptions and activities in putative
flesh, much easier did he find it to provide true perceptions and
activities with true substance of flesh, the more so as he is himself
its particular creator and maker. Now your god, seeing that he
has never produced any flesh at all, may quite reasonably per-
haps have brought in a phantasm of something he had not the
ability to make the truth of. But my God, who reshaped into the

9. 1 This chapter is almost verbally reproduced in de carne Christi 3.


III. 9 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 197

quality we know, that flesh which he had taken up out of clay—
it was not yet conceived of conjugal seed, yet was already flesh—
was no less able out of any material whatsoever to construct flesh
for angels as well: he had even built up the world out of nothing
into all these various bodies, and had done this with a Word.
And truly, if your god promises to men some time the true sub-
stance of angels—They will, he says, be as the angelsbwhy should
not my God too have granted to angels the true substance of
men, from wheresoever he may have taken it? Since you for
your part will not answer me when I ask from whence that
angelic <substance> you speak of is <to be> taken, no more is
required of me than to affirm as a fact, which is in keeping with
God's dignity, the truth of that object which he presented to
three witnesses, the senses of sight, and touch, and hearing. God
finds it more difficult to tell lies than to bring into existence
veritable flesh, from whatsoever source, even without the process
of birth. There are yet other heretics, who state that if in the
angels that flesh had been truly human it would have needed to
pass through human birth: to these we give in answer a firm
reason why it was both truly human yet exempt from birth. It was
truly human for the sake of the truth of God, who is a stranger
to all lying and deceit, and because <the angels> could not have
been received by men on human terms if they had not been in
human substance: yet it had not passed through birth because
Christ alone had the right to become incarnate of human flesh,
so that he might reform our nativity by his own nativity, and
thus also loose the bands of our death by his own death, by rising
again in that flesh in which he was born with intent to be able
to die. For this reason he too on that occasion appeared along
with the angels in Abraham's presence, in flesh veritable indeed
though not yet born, because it was not yet to die, though it was
even then learning to hold converse among men. Even more so
the angels, who were never by God's intention to die for us, had
no need to receive their brief experience of flesh by means of
birth, because they were not intending to lay it down by means
of death: yet from wheresoever it was they acquired it, and in
whatsoever manner they finally disposed of it, they certainly did
not tell lies about it. If the Creator maketh his angels spirits and
his attendants a flaming fire,c no less truly spirits than truly fire,
he is the same who also made them truly flesh, so that we may


III. 10 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 199

now set it on record, and report back to the heretics, that the
promise of some time reforming men into angels is made by that
<God> who of old time formed angels into men.

10. So then, as you are not admitted to avail yourself, along with
us, of the evidences the Creator provides, seeing these belong not
to you, and have their own explanations, I wish you for your part
would state what your god had in mind when he produced his
Christ not in veritable flesh. If he held flesh in contempt,1 as being
earthly and, as you people keep on saying, packed with dung,
why did he not for the same reason despise even the similitude
of it? No dishonourable object can have an honourable copy made
of it: as the thing itself is, so will its likeness be. But, <you ask>,
how could he hold converse among men except by means of a
copy of man's substance? Why then not rather by means of the
truth of it, so that he might truly hold converse, seeing he thought
it necessary to hold converse ? With how much more dignity would
necessity have made provision of good faith than of fraud? A
sad sort of god is this you set up, in this very fact that he was
incapable of bringing his Christ into view except in the likeness
of some unworthy object, one which was not even his own. It
may perhaps be permissible to make use of a certain number of
unworthy objects, if they are our own: it cannot be right to use
things not one's own, even though they are worthy. Why then
did he not come in some other more worthy substance, something
of his own for preference, so as not to show himself in need of
unworthy things, which belonged to someone else? If my Creator
entered into converse with a man by means of a bush and a flame,
and afterwards by means of a cloud, and a ball <of fire>, and has
made use of the bodies of the <four> elements in making himself
present, these instances of divine power sufficiently prove that
God stood in no need of any contrivance of false flesh, or even of
true. Moreover, if we face the facts, no substance is worthy
enough for God to clothe himself with it. Anything he does clothe
himself with, he himself makes worthy—so long as no lie is in-
volved. And in that case how can he have regarded as a dishonour
the verity of flesh, any more than a lie about it? In fact he made

10. 1 On gnostic and Marcionite vilification of the human body, de carne Christi
4, de res. carnis 4.


III. 11 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 201

it honourable by shaping it <with his hands>.2 How noble now is
that flesh, the mere phantasm of which became indispensable
to your superior god.

11. All this jugglery of a putative corporeity in Christ has been
taken up by Marcion with this in mind, that evidence of human
substance might not serve for proof of his nativity as well: for in
that case our claim would be justified that Christ belongs to the
Creator, since the announcement had gone forth that he was to
be born, and so needed to have human flesh. Here too that man
of Pontus has acted unwisely, not observing that it would be
easier to believe that in God there was flesh without birth, than
that there was flesh which was not flesh, particularly since such
a belief had had the way prepared for it by the Creator's angels,
who conversed <with men> in flesh which was true flesh, but had
not been born. Also that woman Philumena did better in persuad-
ing Apelles and the other deserters of Marcion, that Christ
was indeed clothed with veritable flesh, yet without nativity,
having taken it on loan from the elements.1 But if Marcion was
afraid that belief in the flesh might also carry with it belief in
nativity—there is no doubt that he who was seen to be man was
naturally thought to have been born. A certain woman cried
out, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the breasts which thou hast
sucked:a
and how comes it that his mother and his brethren are
reported standing without?b But we shall consider these texts in
their proper place.2 Certainly when he himself described himself
as the Son of man, this was a claim to have been born. For the
moment—so that I may defer all these matters until I come to
assess the evidence of the gospel—yet <this must stand> which
I have already established, that if he who was seen to be a man
had without question to be accepted as having been born, to no
purpose has <Marcion> conjectured that belief in nativity can
be ruled out by the supposition of imaginary flesh: for what
advantage was it that that which was held for true should not

10. 2 Either this, as translated here, refers to God's shaping of man out of clay;
or the sentence is a supposed interjection, that Marcion's god honoured human
flesh even 'by his pretended assumption of it'.

11. 1 Apelles: de carns Christi 6-9. On the virgin Philumena see the statement
of Rhodo, quoted by Eusebius, H.E. v. xiii. 2-7 [Stevenson, A New Eusebius, 82].

2 IV. 26 and de carne Christi 7.


III. 11 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 203

truly have been so, whether it were flesh or nativity? Or else,
if you say human opinion is no concern of yours, you are now
honouring your god with an ascription falsely applied, if he
knew he was something other than he had caused men to think
he was. And again, it was in your power also to have credited
him with a putative nativity, and then you would not have
stumbled over this question. Young women sometimes think them-
selves pregnant, either because their periods fall late, or because
they are swollen up by some distemper. And in fact it was his
duty to act out the phantasm motif right to the end, so as to avoid
cutting out the scene of the origin of the flesh, seeing he had not
cut out the role of that substance itself. Evidently you have re-
jected the idea that his nativity was a pretence: for you have
affirmed that his flesh was real. Even a real nativity of God is of
course a thing most disgraceful. Come on then, use all your elo-
quence against those sacred and reverend works of nature, launch
an attack upon everything that you are: revile that in which both
flesh and soul begin to be: characterize as a sewer the womb, that
workshop for bringing forth the noble animal which is man:
continue your attack on the unclean and shameful torments of
child-bearing, and after that on the dirty, troublesome, and
ridiculous management of the new-born child. And yet, when
you have pulled all those things to pieces, so as to assure yourself
that they are beneath God's dignity, nativity cannot be more
undignified than death, or infancy than a cross, or <human>
nature than scourging, or <human> flesh than condemnation. If
Christ did in very truth suffer those things, it was a lesser thing
to be born: if, as a phantasm, his sufferings were a falsehood, so
could his birth have been. So much for Marcion's general argu-
ments, by which he makes out that there is another Christ.3 I
think I have sufficiently shown that they have no sort of stability,
while my plea is that it is much more consistent with God's
character that that shape and form in which he brought his
Christ to our knowledge should be the truth and not a lie. If it
was the truth, there was flesh: if there was flesh he was born. The
<truths> which this heresy attacks, are confirmed when those
<allegations> are broken down by which it makes its attack.
Consequently, if because he was born he must be admitted to

11. 3 i.e. the Creator's Christ, who according to Marcion—and the Jews (cf.
16. 3 below)—was still to come.


III. 12 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 205

have had <human> flesh, and if because he has <human> flesh he
must be admitted to have been born, and if also <he was real>
because he was no phantasm, he must be acknowledged to be the
same one who, it was foretold by the Creator's prophets, would
come in the flesh, and would do so by process of nativity—in
other words, the Creator's Christ.

12.1 Appeal next, as your custom is, to this description of Christ
which Isaiah makes, and assert your claim that it in no point
agrees. In the first place, you allege, Isaiah's Christ will have to
be named Emmanuel,a and afterwards to take up the strength
of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria against the king of the
Assyrians:b and yet he who has come was neither known by any
name of that kind, nor has ever performed any warlike act. My
advice to you will be to consider the contexts of each of these two
passages. For there is appended a translation of Emmanuel, God
with us;c
so that you should not only have in mind the sound of
the name, but also its meaning. For the Hebrew sound, which is
Emmanuel, belongs to its own nation: but its meaning, which is
God with us is by the translation made common <to all nations>.
Inquire then whether that word, God-with-us, which is Emmanuel,
is frequently used in regard to Christ ever since Christ's light has
shone forth: and I think you will agree that it is, in that you
yourself say, He is called God-with-us, and that is Emmanuel.
Or else if, because among your company the word used is God-
with-us, and not Emmanuel, you are so frivolous as to refuse to
admit that that one is come to whom it particularly belongs to
be named Emmanuel—as though this were not the same as God-
with-us—you will find that among the Hebrews there are
Christians, even Marcionites, who use the name Emmanuel
when they wish to say God-with-us: as likewise every nation, in
whatsoever words they have said God-with-us, have uttered the
name Emmanuel, expressing the sound of the word by its mean-
ing. But if Emmanuel is God-with-us, and God-with-us is Christ,
who also is within us—for all you who have been baptized into
Christ have put on Christd—Christ is just as particularly implied

12. 1 The substance of Chapters 12—14 reappears as adv. Jud. 9. It is disputed
whether that part of adv. Jud. was written by Tertullian or by someone who
made use of his work—perhaps the unauthorized transcriber mentioned at
I. 1. 1 above.


III. 13 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 207

in the signification of the name, which is God-with-us, as in the
sound of the name, which is Emmanuel. And so it stands agreed
that that one is already come who was foretold as Emmanuel,
because that which Emmanuel signifies has come, and that is
God-with-us.

13. No less are you being led by the sound of the words when
you interpret the strength of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria
and the king of the Assyrians as indicating that the Creator's
Christ will be a warrior.a You miss the point of what scripture
promises <in the statement> that before <the child> knows how
to say Father, and Mother, he will take up the strength of
Damascus and the spoils of Samaria against the king of the
Assyrians. You must before all else take note of the indication of
his age, <and ask> whether it can as yet represent Christ as a
<grown> man, far less a commander <of armies>. Do you suppose
the infant was going to call men to arms by his mewling, and give
the signal for war with a rattle-box instead of a trumpet, and
launch his attack upon the enemy not from horse or chariot or
city-wall, but from his nurse's or nursemaid's shoulder or back,
and thus obtain control of Damascus and Samaria in the place
of <his mother's> breasts? Of course it is another matter if among
the men of Pontus the infants of that barbarous race break forth
to battle: I suppose they are first oiled and laid in the sun, and
afterwards panoplied in swaddling-clothes and given butter for
army-pay—these same who know how to handle a spear before
they learn to chew. But now, since nature in no country gives
permission <for infants> to go to war before they <learn to> live,
to take up the strength of Damascus before they know the words
Father, and Mother, it follows that the statement must be taken
as figurative. But, says he, nature does not permit a virgin to bear
<a child>, and yet you believe the prophet. And rightly so. For
he began by building up credence for a fact incredible, by
stating the reason, that it was intended for a sign. Therefore, it
says, the Lord shall give you a sign, Behold a virgin shall conceive in the
womb, and shall bear a son.
1,b Now a sign from God, unless it were
some preternatural novelty, would in no sense have been a sign.
Consequently whenever the Jews, in the hope of disconcerting

13. 1 On Isa. 7: 14 and 8: 4 (above) with Ps. 72: 10: Justin, dial. 43 and 77,
78: on virgo, iuvencula also Irenaeus, A.H. III. xxiii, xxv.


III. 13 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 209

us, have the effrontery to utter their lie that it is contained in
scripture that a young woman, not a virgin, is to conceive and
bear, they are confuted by this fact, that evidently no sign is
involved in an everyday occurrence, the pregnancy and child-
bearing of a young woman. Therefore a virgin mother, ordained
for a sign, naturally carries credence: an infant warrior by no
means so. For in this second case no question of a sign is involved,
but after the sign of the new nativity has been written down,
immediately after the sign another part of the infant's upbring-
ing is indicated, that he will eat honey and butter. Nor is this
next remark meant for a sign, that he will not assent to malice,
for this too is characteristic of infancy: but that he will take up
the strength of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria against the
king of the Assyrians <is a sign>. Observe the measure of his age
while you look for the meaning of the prophecy: what is more,
give back to the gospel of the truth the things of which you, a
late-comer, have deprived it, and the prophecy as soon becomes
intelligible as it is reported fulfilled. So let us retain those Wise
Men from the East who in his infancy offer to the the new-born
Christ gifts of gold and incense: thus the infant will have taken
up the strength of Damascus without fighting or armament. For
apart from the fact, known to everybody, that the strength of
the East, that is, its force and power, is customarily potent in gold
and spices, it is certainly possible for the Creator to constitute
gold the strength of the other nations besides: as <he says> by
Zechariah, And Judah shall encamp before Jerusalem and gather to-
gether all the valiance of the peoples round about, gold and silver.c
But
of that gift of gold David also says, And there shall be given to him
of the gold ofArabia;d
and again, The kings of the Arabs and of Saba
shall offer him gifts.e
For the Orient for the most part held the
Magi for kings,2 and Damascus was formerly reckoned to Arabia,
before it was transferred to Syrophoenicia after the dividing up
of the Syrias,3 and it was at that earlier time that Christ took up
its strength, by taking up the tokens of it, namely gold and spices:

13. 2 Tertullian is the earliest writer to say that the Magi were kings; Justin
dial. 78, had already said they came from Arabia.

3 Damascus was reckoned to Arabia until it was brought into Coele Syria,
on the division of Syria by Septimius Severus between 193 and 198 (Dio Cassius
53.12): Justin, dial. 78, seems to have previous knowledge of this rearrangement
unless the observation is a later addition.

8268076 P


III. 14 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 211

while as spoils of Samaria <he took up> the Magi themselves,
who after they had discovered him, and honoured him with gifts,
and had bowed the knee and worshipped him as God and king
on the evidence of the star that was their informant and leader,
were made the spoils of Samaria, that is, of idolatry, because
they believed in Christ. For he stigmatized idolatry under the
name of Samaria, which was in disgrace because of the idolatry
by which it had of old revolted from God under king Jeroboam:
for this is no unusual thing to the Creator, to make a figurative
use of the transference of names when the things censured are of
like character. So he also calls the princes of the Jews princes of
Sodom, and the people themselves the people of Gomorra. And
again in another place he says, Thy father was an Amorite and thy
mother a Hittite,
because of the same sort of impiety, although
at another time he had even said they were his own sons, I have
nourished and brought up sons.
So also Egypt is sometimes in his
scriptures understood to mean the whole world, when charged
with idolatry and abomination: and in the same way Babylon
also in our <apostle> John is a metaphor of the Roman city,
which, like Babylon, is great, and proud of empire, and at war
against the saints of God.f By this same usage he described the
Magi also by the appellation of Samaritans, because, as I have
observed, they were despoiled of idolatry, a thing they had in
common with the Samaritans. Against the king of the Assyriansg
you must understand to mean 'against Herod', against whom in
fact the Magi then took action by not bringing him back news
of Christ, whom he was seeking to destroy.

14. This interpretation of mine will receive support in that in
other places too, where you suppose Christ a warrior because of
the names of certain weapons of war, and verbs to the same
effect, you stand refuted as we bring under consideration the
purport of their context as a whole. Gird thee with a sword upon thy
thigh,a
says David. But what do you find written of Christ just
before this? Thou art timely in beauty more than the sons of men, grace
is poured forth on thy lips.b
It is ridiculous to suppose that he was
flattering, in the matter of timeliness of beauty and grace of lips,
one whom he was girding for war with a sword. So also, when
he goes on to say, And stretch forth and prosper and reign, he adds
<the reason>, because of truth and gentleness and righteousness. Who is


III. 14 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 213

going to produce these results with a sword? Will not that rather
produce the opposites of these, guile, and severity, and un-
righteousness? These are surely the particular purpose and effect
of battles. Let us inquire then whether there is a different mean-
ing for that sword, which has so different an activity. Now the
apostle John in the Apocalypse describes a sharp two-edged
sword as proceeding from the mouth of God,c exceeding sharp:
and this has to be understood as the divine word, doubly sharp
in the two testaments of the Law and the Gospel, sharp with
wisdom, directed against the devil, arming us against the spiri-
tual hosts of wickedness and all concupiscence, and cutting us
off even from our dearest for the sake of the name of God. But if
you refuse acknowledgement of John,1 you have Paul, a teacher
you share with us, who girds our loins with truth, and with the
corselet of righteousness, and shoes our feet with the preparation
of the gospel of peace—not of war—and bids us take to us the
shield of the faith, that by it we may be able to quench all the
fiery darts of the devil, and <to take> the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the spirit, which, says he, is the word of God.d This
is the sword which our Lord himself came to cast on to the earth,e
not peace. If this is your Christ, then he too is a warrior. If he
is not a warrior, but advances an allegorical sword, then it was
permissible for the Creator's Christ in the psalm, without war-
like intent, to be girt with the figurative sword of the word—
and in keeping with this is the above-mentioned timeliness and
grace of lips—the sword with which he was at that time girt
upon the thigh, as David puts it, but was afterwards to cast
upon the earth. For this is what he means by, Stretch forth and
prosper and reign:f
sending forth the word into all the earth, for
the vocation of all the nations: destined to prosper by the pro-
gress of the faith by which he has been received: and reigning
from thenceforth in that he has overcome death by resurrection.
And thy right hand, it says, shall marvellously lead thee forth, which
means the power of spiritual grace, by which the knowledge of
Christ is led forth. Thy arrows are sharp, the precepts which fly
in every direction, and the threatenings and the searchings of
heart, which pierce and transfix every man's conscience. Peoples
shall fall down before thee,
in worship. This is how the Creator's
Christ is a warrior and an armed man, this is how he is even

14. 1 For Marcion's rejection of the Apocalypse cf. IV. 5. 2.


III. 15 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 215

today taking the spoils, not of Samaria only but of all the nations.
You have been taught how his armour is allegorical: admit then
that his spoils are figurative. As then our Lord speaks, and the
apostle writes, figuratively of these matters, we do then with good
confidence make use of those interpretations of his, instances of
which even our adversaries acknowledge: and so the Christ who
has come will be Isaiah's Christ, for the very reason that he was
not a warrior, because he is not by Isaiah described as such.

15. On the question of the flesh, and, by implication, of the
nativity, and for the time being of the one name, of Emmanuel,
let this suffice. Next, as concerns his other names, and in particu-
lar his name of Christ, what answer are my opponents going to
give? If in your opinion the name of Christ is a common noun,
just as the name of god is, with the result that it is permissible
for the sons of each of two gods to be called Christ, as also for
each <of those gods> to be called father <and> lord, assuredly
reason will controvert this proposition. The name of god, being
as it were a natural description of divinity, can be shared among
all for whom divinity is claimed, such as idols, as the apostle
says, For there are also those that are called gods, whether in heaven or on
earth.a
But the name of Christ, which comes not from nature but
from revelation, becomes the peculiar property of him by whom
it is known to have been fore-ordained: nor is it subject to sharing
with another god, especially one who is hostile, and has a dispensa-
tion of his own, for which he will need to provide specific names.
How ridiculous it is that when they have invented the idea of two
gods with hostile dispensations, they admit a partnership of names
into this discord of dispensations, although they could have to
hand no more cogent proof of two hostile gods than that in their
dispensation there should also be found diversity of names. For
there exists no case of opposing attributes which is not marked
off by its own particular terminology: and when a particular
terminology is lacking, if it ever is, then the Greek catachresis—
of the improper use of a term which does not belong—comes to
one's rescue. But with a god, I imagine, there can be no possi-
bility of anything lacking, or of his needing to furnish his own
dispensations with property which belongs to another. What sort
of a god is yours, who even for his own son lays claim to names
from the Creator—names that are not only not his own, but are


III. 16 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 217

ancient and well known, and even on that account ought to be
unsuitable for a god who is new and unknown ? In fact how can
he tell us that a new patch is not sewn on to an old garment, nor
new wine entrusted to old wineskins,b if he is himself patched on
to, and dressed up in, names that are old? How has he managed
to strip the gospel away from the law, if himself dressed up in the
whole law—for that is what the name of Christ involves? Who
has bidden him not to use a different name, seeing he is a preacher
of something different, and comes from a different place, when
in fact he has refused to take to him a veritable body with the
express intention of not being thought the Creator's Christ? It
was to no effect that he chose not to be taken for that one whose
name he chose to bear, when even if he had in fact possessed
a body, he would have been more likely not to be taken for the
Creator's Christ if he were not using his name. As things stand,
he has rejected the objective reality of one whose name he has
accepted, though he could not avoid expressing approval of that
objective reality by his use of its name. For if Christ means
'anointed', anointing is certainly something which is done to a
body. One who had no body could not in any sense be anointed:
one who could not in any sense be anointed could not by any
means have had the name of Christ. It is another matter if he
also pretended to a phantasm of the name. But how, they ask,
could he have worked his way into the Jews' confidence except
by a name which was usual and familiar among them? You
tell a tale of a god without courage and without principles, since
to promote a policy by deception is the device either of self-
distrust or of dishonesty. With greater honesty and absence of
guile the false prophets acted in opposition to the Creator by
coming in the name of their own god. So I do not see how this
device had any effect, since the Jews found it easier to believe
he was either their own Christ, or else rather some deceiver, than
the Christ of a different god—and so the gospel will prove.

16. Now supposing it true that he pilfered the name of Christ,
like a petty thief after the dole-basket, why did he also choose
to be called Jesus, a name about which the Jews had no such
expectations? Although we for our part have by the grace of God
obtained understanding of his mysteries, and recognize that this
name too was destined for Christ, it does not follow that the


III. 16 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 219

Jews, deprived of wisdom, were to be aware of that fact. Indeed
until this present day they are hoping for Christ, not for Jesus,
and they would rather interpret Elijah as Christ, than Jesus [i.e.
Joshua]. He then who has come also in this name in which Christ
was not expected, had it in his power to come in that name alone
which was the only one expected. But as he has combined the
two, the expected and the unexpected, both of his designs are
put out of court. For if his reason for being Christ was that he
might for a time steal in on the pretence of belonging to the
Creator, <the name of> Jesus opposes <this>, because there was no
expectation of Jesus [Joshua] in the Creator's Christ: or if <he
was named> Jesus so that he might be taken to belong to the other
<god>, <the name> Christ forbids <this>, because the Christ that
was hoped for belonged to no other than the Creator. Which of
these <names> can hold its ground, I know not. But both can
hold their ground in the Creator's Christ, in whom also <the
name of> Jesus is found to be. In what way, you ask. Have your
answer here, along with the Jews, who hold the half of your
error.1 When Auses [Oshea] the son of Nave [Nun] was marked
out as successor to Moses, you admit he is changed from his
original name, and begins to be called Jesusa [Jehoshua] ?2 Just
so, you answer. We observe first that this was a figure of him
who was to be. Because Jesus the Christ was going to bring the
second people, which are we, born in the wilderness of <this>
world, into the land of promise, flowing with milk and honey,
which means the inheritance of eternal life, than which nothing
is sweeter: and because this was going to be effected not by
Moses, not, that is, by the discipline of the law, but by Jesus,
through the grace of the gospel, after we had been circumcised
with the knife of flint, that is, the precepts of Christ—for the rock
was Christ—therefore that man who was being set aside for the
similitudes of this mystery was also first established in the like-
ness of our Lord's name, being surnamed Jesus [Jehoshua]. Christ
himself, when talking with Moses, bore witness that this name is
his own. For who was it that was talking? Surely the Creator's
Spirit, who is Christ. When therefore he spoke to the people,
to whom he had given the commandments, and said, Behold I

16. 1 i.e. the Jews denied that the Creator's Christ was come, but had not
invented a superior god or a different Christ, as Marcion had.

2 On the change of name cf. Justin, dial. 75 and 113.


III. 17 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 221

send my angel before thy face, to guard thee in the way, and to bring
thee into the land which I have prepared for thee: give heed to him and
hear him, disobey him not, for he will not hide it from thee that my
name is upon him:b
he called him an angel because of the great-
ness of the exploits he was to perform, and because of his office of
prophet in declaring the will of God: but he called him Jesus
[Joshua] because of the mystery of his own name which was to
be. Again and again he asserted his own name which he had
conferred upon him, because he had ordered him to be addressed
in future not as angel or as Auses [Oshea] but as Jesus [Joshua].
Therefore in as much as both these names are appropriate to the
Creator's Christ, to that extent neither of them is appropriate
to the Christ of a non-creator—nor again is the rest of
what he did. So from this point onwards there must be marked
out between you and me that firm and definite ruling, necessary
to both parties, by which it is laid down that there can be nothing
at all in common between the Christ of another god and the
Christ of the Creator. You will have as great a need to defend
their diversity, as I to oppose it: because you will only be able
to prove that another god's Christ has come, by showing that
he is far and away different from the Christ of the Creator: while
I shall only be able to prove him the Creator's by showing him
to be such a one as is commissioned by the Creator. On the matter
of the names I have now gained my point: I claim Christ as mine,
I assert that Jesus belongs to me.

17. Let us bring the rest of his activities into comparison with
the scriptures. Whatever that poor body may be, in whatever
condition it was, and however regarded, so long as he is without
glory, without nobility, and without honour, he will be the Christ
I know, because it was foretold that in condition and in aspect
such he would be. Once more Isaiah helps us: We have announced,
he says, before him: as a young boy, as a root in thirsty land: and he has
no form nor glory, and we saw him, and he was without form or comeliness,
but his form was dishonoured, defective beyond all men:a
as also just
before, <there was> the voice of the Father <speaking> to the Son,
Even as many will be astounded at thee, so thy appearance will be without
glory from men.b
For though, as David has it, he is timely in beauty
even above the sons of men,c yet this is in that allegorical state
of spiritual grace, when he girds himself with the sword of the


III. 18 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 223

Word, which is in truth his very own form and comeliness and
glory. But in his incorporate condition he is, according to the
same prophet, even a worm, and no man, the scorn of men, and
the contempt of the people.d It is no interior quality of his that
he proclaims is of that nature. For if the fullness of the Spirit
has come to rest upon him, I recognize a rod out of the root of
Jesse:e and its flower will be my Christ, upon whom, according
to Isaiah, has rested the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the
Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge and god-
liness, the Spirit of the fear of God. For there is no one of mankind
in whom this diversity of spiritual testimonies has met together,
except Christ, who was equated with a flower because of the
grace of the Spirit, yet was accounted of the stem of Jesse, being
descended from it through Mary. But I challenge you to say
what you have in mind. If you grant that to him applies all this
humility and patience and non-resistance, and in view of these
he is to be Isaiah's Christ—a man in affliction, and knowing how
to bear weakness,f who has been brought as a sheep to sacrifice,
and as a lamb before the shearer he opened not his mouth: who
neither did strive nor cry, nor was his voice heard out of doors:
who did not break the bruised reed, which means the shaken
faith of the Jews, nor quench the burning flax, which was the
recently kindled ardour of the gentiles—he cannot be any other
than the one the prophet foretold. His activity needs to be re-
viewed by the canon of the scriptures, where, if I mistake not,
it is distinguished as a twofold series of acts, of preaching and of
power. But I shall arrange my treatment of both topics as follows.
Since I have thought it well that Marcion's own gospel should
be brought under discussion, I shall defer until then my treatment
of various aspects of his teaching and miracles, as for the matter
then in hand. Here however in general terms I shall complete the
course I have entered upon, explaining meanwhile that Christ is
announced by Isaiah as one who preaches: for he says, Who is
there among you who feareth God, and will hear the voice of his Son?g
and as a healer, for he says, He himself hath taken away our weak-
nesses and borne <our> wearinesses.h

18.1 At least in the manner of his death, I suppose, you try to
suggest a difference, alleging that the passion of the cross was

18. 1 This chapter runs parallel with adv. Jud. 10.


III. 18 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 225

never prophesied of the Creator's Christ, with a further argu-
ment that it is quite incredible that the Creator should have
exposed his Son to that form of death on which he himself had
laid a curse. Cursed, it says, is every one that hath hung on a tree.a
Now the meaning of this curse I leave for later consideration—
though it is in full keeping solely with that preaching of the cross
which is our present subject of inquiry—because on other occa-
sions also the proof of facts has preceded the explanation of
them. I shall first explain about the types. And certainly there
were most cogent reasons why this mystery could not escape
being prophesied by types and figures. The more incredible it
was, the more offensive it would become if it were prophesied in
plain terms: and the more marvellous it was, the more it needed
to be covered in obscurity, so that difficulty of understanding
might make request for the grace of God. And so Isaac, to begin
with, when delivered up by his father for a sacrifice, himself
carried the wood for himself,b and did at that early date set forth
the death of Christ, who when surrendered as a victim by his
Father carried the wood of his own passion.2 Joseph also, himself
to be a type of Christ—and not for this reason alone <that I delay
not my course> that he suffered persecution from his brethren be-
cause of God's grace, as Christ suffered from the Jews, his brethren
according to the flesh—when blessed by his father in these
precise terms, His glory is that of a bullock, his horns are the horns
of a unicorn: with them will he winnow the nations together, even to the
end of the earth,c
was certainly not intended to be a rhinoceros
with one horn or a minotaur with two horns: rather in him
Christ was indicated, a bullock according to both accounts, to
some people stern as a judge, to others kind as a saviour, whose
horns were to be the extremities of the Cross.3 For in a yardarm,
which is part of a cross, the extreme ends are called horns, while
the unicorn is the upright middle post. So then by this virtue of
the Cross, and by being horned after this manner, he is even now
winnowing all the nations through faith, lifting them up from
earth into heaven, as he will afterwards winnow them by judge-
ment, casting them down from heaven to earth. He is also to be
found as a bullock in another place in the same scripture, where

18. 2 On Isaac carrying the wood, and on Joseph persecuted by his
brethren, Melito, de pascha 59.

3 On types of the Cross: Justin, dial. 91, 94, 112; Tertullian, ad nat. i. 12.

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III. 19 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 227

Jacob utters a spiritual reproof against Simeon and Levi, who
stand for the scribes and pharisees, for their origin is counted
from these: Simeon and Levi have perfected iniquity by their heresy—
that, it means, by which they persecuted Christ—let not my soul
come into their council, and let not my affections take rest in their assembly,
because in their indignation they have put men to death—
that is, the
prophets—and in their concupiscence they have severed the sinews of a
bulld
that is, of Christ, whom after the murder of the prophets
they crucified, and with nails wrought savagery against his
sinews. Otherwise it would be to no purpose if, after the murder
of men, he were to rebuke them for the slaughter of some ox or
other. And again, why did Moses on that occasion only when
Joshua was warring against Amalek, pray sitting and with out-
stretched hands,e when in such critical circumstances he might
have been expected rather to commend his prayer by bended
knees, by hands beating the breast, and face turned down to the
ground? Evidently because on that occasion, when one was con-
tending who bore our Lord's name, as our Lord himself was
afterwards to contend against the devil, the form of the cross was
essential, so that by it Joshua might gain the victory. The same
Moses again, although he had forbidden the likeness of any thing,f
afterwards set up a brazen serpent on a poleg in the attitude of
one hanging, and commended it to be gazed upon for healing.4
Why was this, except that here too he was asserting the power
of our Lord's Cross, by which <that old> serpent, the devil, was
being reduced to bondage, while to everyone wounded by spiritual
snake-bites who should look upon it and believe in it, was promised
healing of the bites of sins, and salvation from thence forward?

19. Come now, if you have read in the Psalms,a The Lord hath
reigned from the tree,
1 I wonder what you understand by it: unless
perhaps <you think> the reference is to some woodman as king
of the Jews, and not to Christ, who ever since his suffering on the
tree has been king through his conquest of death. For although
death reigned from Adam until Christ, why should not Christ
be said to have reigned from the tree, ever since by dying on the

18. 4 On the serpent of brass, Tertullian, de idol. 5.

19. 1 'From the tree' is not in the Hebrew or LXX or Latin Vulgate of Ps.
96: 10: but it was known to Justin, apol. i. 41, 42; dial. 73; and the epistle of
Barnabas (8. 5) seems to be aware of it.


III. 19 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 229

tree of the Cross he drove out the kingdom of death? In the same
sense also Isaiah says, Because to us a child is born:b what is new in
this, unless he is speaking of the Son of God? And, Unto us one is
given, whose government is placed upon his shoulder:
which of the kings
ever displays the sign of his dominion upon his shoulder, and not
rather a crown upon his head or a sceptre in his hand, or some
mark of appropriate apparel? No, only the new king of the new
ages, Christ Jesus, <the king> of new glory, has lifted up upon his
shoulder his own dominion and majesty, which is the Cross, so
that from thenceforth, as our previous prophecy stated, he did
as Lord reign from the tree. You have a hint of this tree also in
Jeremiah, who prophesies to the Jews that they will say, Come
and let us cast a tree into his bread,c
meaning, his body. For so God
has revealed it, even in the gospel which you accept, when he
says that bread is his body:d so that even from this you can under-
stand that he who gave bread the figure of his body is the same
as he whose body the prophet had of old figuratively described
as bread, as our Lord himself was afterwards to expound this
mystery. If you ask for further prophecy of our Lord's Cross, you
can find complete satisfaction in the twenty-first psalm, which
comprises the whole passion of Christ, who was even at that date
foretelling of his own glory. They pierced, he says, my hands and
my feet,e
which is the particular outrage of the cross. And again,
while appealing for his Father's help, he says, Save me from the
lion's mouth,
meaning death: and <my> lowliness from the horns of the
unicorn,f
the points of the cross, as I have already pointed out.2
Now since neither David nor any king of the Jews had to suffer
that cross, you cannot think this a prophecy of the passion of
anyone else, but only of him who alone was so notably crucified
by that people. So now, if the heretic's obstinacy contemns and
derides all these interpretations of mine, I shall <be prepared to>
grant him that the Creator has given <in this psalm> no indication
of any cross of Christ, in that even on this ground he will not
prove that he who was crucified was any other <than the Creator's
Christ>—unless perchance he succeeds in showing that his death
in this form was prophesied by his own god, so that diversity of
prophesyings may prove there was diversity of passions and, in
consequence, diversity of persons. But as there was no prophecy

19. 2 Ps. 22: 16 sqq. is discussed and interpreted by Justin, dial. 97-106
and apol. i. 38.


III. 20 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 231

of Marcion's Christ, far less of his cross, the prophecy of one
death <and not two> is sufficient proof that the Christ who is
meant is mine. From the fact that the manner of his death is not
stated, it follows that it could have come about by a cross,
and it could only have had reference to another if there had also
been prophecy of another—unless perhaps he prefers that not
even the death of my Christ was prophesied: in which case he
is put to greater shame, while he tells of the death of his own
Christ, whose birth he denies, but denies the death of my Christ,
whose birth he admits. But I can prove both the death and the
burial and the resurrection of my Christ by one word of Isaiah,
who says, His sepulture hath been taken away out of the midst.g He could
not have been buried without having died, nor could his sepulture
have been taken away out of the midst except by resurrection.
And so he added, Therefore shall he have many for an inheritance, and
of many shall he divide the spoils, because his soul hath been delivered
over unto death.h
For in this is indicated the purpose of this grace,
that it is to be a recompense for the insult of death. It is likewise
indicated that he is to obtain these things after death, by virtue,
that is, of resurrection.

20.1 It is enough so far to have traced out Christ's course in
these matters, far enough for it to be proved that he is such a one
as was foretold, and consequently ought not to be taken as any
other than he who it was foretold would be such as this. And
so now, because what happened to him is in harmony with the
Creator's scriptures, the prior authority of the majority of
instances must restore credibility to those others which in the
interest of opposing opinions are either brought into doubt or
completely denied. I now go further, and build up all those
parallels from the Creator's scriptures of things it was prophesied
would occur after Christ's coming: for events are found to be
happening as they were ordained, which could not have been the
case apart from the coming of Christ which had to precede them.
See how all the nations since then are looking up out of the abyss
of human error towards God the Creator, and towards his Christ,
and deny, if you dare, that this was prophesied. Even at the
very beginning of the Psalms the Father's promise will meet you:
Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee: require of me and I will

20. 1 This chapter runs parallel with adv. Jud. 12.


III. 20 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 233

give thee the gentiles for thine inheritance, and the boundaries of the earth
for thy possession.a
You cannot claim that David, rather than Christ,
is his son: or that the boundaries of the earth were promised to
David, whose reign was confined to the one single nation of the
Jews, rather than to Christ, who has by now taken the whole
world captive by the faith of his gospel. So also by Isaiah: I have
given thee for a covenant of the <human> race, for a light of the nations, to
open the eyes of the blind,
those who are in error, to loose from their
bonds those that are bound,
that is, to set them free from sins, and
from the cell of the prison,
which is death, those who sit in darkness,
the darkness of ignorance.b If these things are coming to pass
through Christ, they cannot have been prophesied of any other
than him through whom they are coming to pass. Also in another
place: Behold I have set him for a testimony to the nations, a prince and
commander to the nations: nations which know not thee shall call upon
thee, and peoples shall take refuge with thee.c
You cannot interpret this
of David on the ground that he had just previously said, And I
will ordain for you an eternal covenant, the religious and faithful things
ofDavid.d
Nay rather, the more so from this <text> will you need
to understand that Christ is reckoned <as derived> from David
by carnal descent, because of the lineage of Mary the virgin.
For it is in respect of this promise that in the psalm he swears an
oath to David, Of the fruit of thy body shall I set upon thy throne.e
Which body is this? David's own? Certainly not. David could
not have been expected to give birth. Nor was it his wife's: for in
that case he would not have said, Of the fruit of thy body, but, Of
the fruit of thy wife's body. So it remains that by the mention of
David's body he indicated one from among his descendants the
fruit of whose body was to be the flesh of Christ: and this came
to flower out of Mary's womb. That is why he made mention
of the fruit of the body only, as of body in particular, as though
it were the body alone, with no mention of a husband: and that
is why he referred the body back to David, as the head of the
race and the forefather of the family. So because it was impossible
for him to refer that body to a virgin's husband, he referred it
back to her forefather. And therefore this new covenant, which
today is found to exist in Christ, must be that which the Creator
was then promising when he told of the religious and faithful
things of David, which were Christ's things, because Christ is
from David. Indeed his flesh itself must be the religious and


III. 21 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 235

faithful things of David, being now holy by sacred usage, and faith-
ful since its resurrection. So Nathan the prophet also, in the first
of Kingdoms, makes a promise to David for his seed, which, says
he, shall proceed out of his body.f If you interpret this simply as
applying to Solomon, you will rouse my laughter: for it will look
as though David was Solomon's mother. But is not Christ here
indicated as the seed of David, out of that body which was de-
scended from David—Mary's body? Yes, it was Christ rather
than Solomon, who was to build up the temple of God, that holy
manhood in which, as in a better temple, the Spirit of God was
to dwell: and it was Christ rather than Solomon the son of David,
who was to be held for God's Son.g Also a throne for ever and
a kingdom for ever belongs to Christ rather than Solomon, who
was but a temporal king. Moreover it was from Christ that the
mercy of God did not depart away, though upon Solomon even
the wrath of God came, because of lechery and idolatry: for
Satan stirred up against him an enemy, an Edomite.2,h So then
since all this is not at all apposite to Solomon, but only to Christ,
the reasonableness of my interpretations is confirmed, for the out-
come of these matters sets its approval on them as things evidently
prophesied of Christ. And so, in him will consist the holy and
faithful things of David: he it was, and not David, whom God
set up as a testimony to the nations: he it was whom he set as
a prince and commander to the nations, not David, who com-
manded only Israel. It is Christ today upon whom the nations
who knew him not are calling, and peoples today are taking
refuge with Christ whom formerly they had never heard of. You
cannot say an event is still future, when you now see it happening.

21. Neither for that matter can you establish that suggestion of
yours, with a view to distinguishing between two Christs, as that
the Judaic Christ was intended by the Creator for the regather-
ing out of dispersion of the people <of Israel> and no others,
whereas your Christ has been advanced by the supremely good
god for the deliverance of the whole human race: because, when
all is said, the Creator's Christians are found to have existed
before Marcion's, in that all peoples have been receiving the call
into his kingdom ever since God has reigned from the tree, before
there was any Cerdo even, let alone Marcion. Refuted however

20. 2 A mistaken reference to 1 Chr. 21: 1.


III. 21 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 237

on the vocation of the gentiles, you now turn back to proselytes.
You ask who they are from among the gentiles, that are passing
over to the Creator, when those specifically mentioned by the
prophet are proselytes, of a different condition, separate, by
themselves: Behold, Isaiah says, proselytes by me shall come near unto
thee,a
showing that even proselytes were to come to God through
Christ. Also the gentiles, which we are, likewise had their own
mention, as people that were hoping in Christ: And in his name,
he says, shall the gentiles hope.b Proselytes however, whom you inter-
polate into the prophecy concerning the gentiles, do not as a
rule hope in Christ's name, but in Moses' law, from which their
instruction comes: whereas the promotion of the gentiles has come
about in these last days. In those very words Isaiah says, And it
shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord shall be
manifest,
namely, the majesty of God, and the temple of God above
the top of the mountains,
meaning Christ, the catholic temple of
God, in whom God is worshipped, established above all the
eminences of virtues and powers: and all the nations shall come to
it, and many shall go and say, Come ye, let us go up into the mountain
of the Lord, and into the house of the God of Jacob, and he will announce
to us his way, and we will walk in it: for out of Sion shall go forth a law,
and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem.c
This way must be the
gospel of the new law, and of the new word in Christ, no longer
in Moses. And he will judge among the nations, in respect of their
error: and he shall confute a large people, in the first instance that of
the Jews and their proselytes. And they shall break down their swords
into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks,
that is, all the
devices of injurious minds and hostile tongues and of all malice
and blasphemy, they shall convert into the interests of moderation
and peace. And nation shall not take up sword against nation, the
sword of discord: neither shall they learn war any more,d that is, follow
up hostilities: so that here too you may learn that the Christ
who was promised was not one powerful in war, but a bringer of
peace. Either deny that these things were prophesied, now that
they are plainly seen, or deny that they have been fulfilled, now
that you have read them: or, if you avoid both denials, they must
have been fulfilled in him of whom they were prophesied. Take
notice even now of the inception and progress of <his> vocation to
the gentiles, who since the last days are coming to God the Cre-
ator, that it was not <addressed> to proselytes, whose promotion


III. 22 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 239

<dates> rather from the earliest days. For this faith of ours was
introduced by the apostles.1

22.1 You can see also how there were prophecies of the work of
the apostles: How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel
of peace, that preach the gospel of good things,a
not of war or of evil
things. The psalm also echoes this: Their sound is gone out into all
the earth, and their words unto the ends of the earth,b
<the words> in
fact of those who carry with them the law which is come forth
from Sion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem: so that
that might come to pass which is written, All those that were far from
my righteousness have drawn near to my righteousness and truth.c
When
the apostles were addressing themselves to this task, they parted
company with the elders and rulers and priests of the Jews. And
was not that, he asks, precisely because they were preachers of
that other god? Oh no! preachers of that very same God whose
scriptures they were then fulfilling. Turn aside, turn aside, Isaiah
calls out, come out from thence, and touch not the unclean thing, blas-
phemy against Christ: come out from the midst of it, the synagogue:
be ye separate, that bear the vessels of the Lord.d For already, in accor-
dance with the things above written, the Lord with his own arm
had revealed his Holy One, that is, he had by his power revealed
Christ openly to the gentiles, so that all the gentiles and the high
places of the earth have seen the salvation which came from God.
So also, in turning aside from Judaism itself, by exchanging the
obligations and burdens of the law for the freedom of the gospel,
they were doing as the psalm advised, Let us break their bonds
asunder and cast away their yoke from us:e
and evidently this was after
the gentiles had made tumults and the peoples had imagined
vain things, the kings of the earth had stood up, and the princes
had gathered together, against the Lord and against his Christ.f
And what was the apostles' experience after that? All the iniquity
of persecutions, you answer, as from men who belonged to the
Creator, the adversary of the god whom they were preaching.
But why, if the Creator was Christ's adversary, does he not only
prophesy that Christ's apostles will be so treated, but also show

21. 1 Franciscus Junius, quoted by Oehler, interprets induxerunt by deleverunt,
suggesting that the Marcionites' conviction that proselytes alone were accepted
is shown to be false by the fact that the apostles admitted others.

22. 1 This chapter runs parallel with adv. Jud. 11.


III. 23 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 241

himself displeased at it? He was not likely to be prophesying
the activities of that other god, whose existence, you say, he was
unaware of, nor to have expressed his displeasure at an occurrence
he himself had arranged for: See how the righteous man doth perish,
and no man taketh it to heart:g and righteous men are being taken away,
and no man doth regard it: for the righteous man is removed away, by the
person of unrighteousness.
2 And who is this righteous man, if not
Christ? Come, they say, let us take away the righteous man, because
he is useless to us.h
So by setting it down first, and repeating it in
like terms afterwards, that even Christ has suffered, he prophesied
that his righteous ones too would have the same sufferings, first
the apostles, and afterwards all the faithful, sealed with that mark
of which Ezekiel speaks: The Lord said unto me, Pass through in the
midst of the gate in the midst of Jerusalem, and set the mark
TAU on the
foreheads of the men.i
For this same letter TAU of the Greeks, which
is our T, has the appearance of the cross, which he foresaw we
should have on our foreheads in the true and catholic Jerusalem,
in which the twenty-first psalm, in the person of Christ himself
addressing the Father, prophesies that Christ's brethren, the
sons of God, will give glory to God the Father: I will declare thy
name unto my brethren, in the midst of the congregation will I sing praise
to thee.j
For with good reason did he assert that he himself would
be the doer of that which in our day was destined to be done in
his name and in his spirit. So a little later, My praise is from thee
in the great congregation:k
and in the sixty-seventh psalm, Bless ye
the Lord God in the congregations:l
so that the prophecy of Malachi
had to be in agreement, / desire it not, saith the Lord, and I will not
accept your sacrifices: because from the rising of the sun even to its setting,
my name is glorified among the gentiles, and in every place a sacrifice is
offered to my name, even a pure sacrificem
the rendering of glory,
and benediction and praise and hymns. And since all these are
found in use with you also, the sign on the foreheads, and the
sacraments of the churches, and die pureness of the sacrifices,
you ought at once to break forth and affirm that it was for your
Christ that the Creator's Spirit prophesied.

23. Next, seeing you agree with the Jews in denying that their

22. 2 Isa. 57: i LXX. Tertullian evidently understands persona as 'person' (not
'presence', which the Greek could mean) and sublatus as 'destroyed' (not
'saved').

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III. 23 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 243

Christ has come, take note also of the end which it was prophesied
they would bring upon themselves after Christ's coming, through
their impiety in despising him and putting him to death. First,
since that day on which, as Isaiah says, man has thrown away his
abominations of gold and silver,a which they made for the
worship of vain and hurtful things, since, that is, the light of the
truth has shone forth through Christ, and the human race has
thrown away its idols, observe whether what follows has not been
fulfilled: For the Lord of hosts hath taken away from Judaea and from
Jerusalem,
besides other matters, the prophet and the wise master-builder,b
namely, the Holy Spirit, who is building the Church, which is
the temple and home and city of God. For, from that time forward
the grace of God has ceased among them, and commandment
has been given to the clouds that they rain no rainc upon the
vineyard of Sorech,d which means, that heavenly benefits have
been commanded not to spring up for the house of Israel. For it
had brought forth thorns, with some of which it made a crown
for our Lord, not righteousness but a cry,c that cry by which they
had required that he might be crucified. Thus the dews of spiri-
tual graces were taken away from them, and the law and the
prophets ceased with John. After that, by the same continuance
of madness even the name of the Lord was through them blas-
phemed, as it is written, For your sakes my name is blasphemed among
the gentilese
for from them began that infamy—and they failed
to understand that the time that intervened between Tiberius and
Vespasian was <a time for> repentance: so their land was made
desolate, their cities burned with fire, their country, strangers
devour it in their presence, and the daughter of Sion was left as
a watch-tower in a vineyard or a cottage in a garden of cucum-
bersf—since the time, in fact, when Israel knew not the Lord, and
the people would not understand him, but forsook him, and pro-
voked the Holy One of Israel to indignation.g So also, under
certain conditions, the threat of the sword, If ye be unwilling and
refuse to hear me, the sword shall devour you,h
proved that it was
Christ whom they refused to hear, and therefore perished. He
also in the fifty-eighth psalm demands of the Father their disper-
sion, Disperse them in thy strength.i Again in Isaiah, ending his
discourse of their being consumed with fire, he says, For my sake
these things have been done to you, ye shall sleep in sorrow.j
Quite
meaningless this, if they suffered these things not for his sake who


III. 24 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 245

had openly stated that they would suffer them for his sake, but
because of the Christ of some other god. Yes, you say, it was the
Christ of the other god who was brought to the cross, by the
Creator's powers and principalities which were hostile to him.
I reply that he is shown as being avenged by the Creator, And
wicked men are given for his burying-place,
those who affirmed that
it had been robbed, and rich men for his death,k those who had paid
money to Judas for his betrayal, and money to the soldiers for
false witness that the dead body had been stolen away. It follows
that, either these things did not happen to the Jews because of
him—but on this you are confuted by the agreement of the sense
of the scriptures with the course of events and the order of the
times—or, if they did happen because of him, it is impossible for
the Creator to have avenged any Christ but his own, since he
would by preference have rewarded Judas if it had been an
opponent of their Lord whom the Jews had put to death. Cer-
tainly, if the Creator's Christ has not yet come, the Christ on
whose account it is prophesied that they are to suffer these things,
it follows that when he does come they will suffer them. But
where by that time will there be a daughter of Sion to be made
desolate? Even today she is not. Where the cities to be burned
with fire? They are already in ruinous heaps. Where the disper-
sion of that nation? It is already in exile. Give back to Judaea its
polity, that the Creator's Christ may find it so: only so can you
claim that he who has come is a different Christ. In any case how
can the Creator have given passage through his own heaven to
one whom, on his own earth, he was going to put to death, after
the violation of the more noble and glorious region of his own
kingdom, after the treading under foot of his own palace and
citadel? Or perhaps this is what he was aiming at? Evidently
a jealous God: yet he is the victor. Shame on you, who trust in
a god who has been vanquished. What have you to hope for from
him who was not strong enough to protect himself? Either it was
through infirmity that he was overpowered by the Creator's
angels and men, or it was through malice, while he desired by
tolerance to brand them with the guilt of so great a crime.

24. 'Yes,' you object, 'but I do hope for something from him—
and this itself amounts to a proof that there are two different
Christs—I hope for the kingdom of God, with an eternal heavenly


III. 24 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 247

inheritance: whereas your Christ promises the Jews their former
estate, after the restitution of their country, and, when life has
run its course, refreshment with those beneath the earth, in
Abraham's bosom. Such a very good God, if when calmed down
he gives back what he took away when angry: your God, who
both smites and heals, who creates evil and makes peace: a God
whose mercy reaches even down to hell.'

Of Abraham's bosom I shall speak at the proper time. As for
the restoration of Judaea, which the Jews, misguided by the
names of towns and territories, hope for exactly as described, it
would be tedious to explain how the allegorical interpretation of
it is spiritually applicable to Christ and the Church and to the
possession and enjoyment of it. I have discussed this in another
work, which I entitle Of the Hope of the Faithful.1 At present too
it would be superfluous, not least because we are not discussing an
earthly but a heavenly promise. For we do profess that even on
earth a kingdom is promised us:2 but this is before we come to
heaven, and in a different polity—in fact after the resurrection,
for a thousand years, in that city of God's building, Jerusalema
brought down from heaven, which the apostle declares is our
mother on high: and when he affirms that our politeuma, our
citizenship, is in heaven, he is evidently locating it in some
heavenly city. This is the city which Ezekiel knows, and the
apostle John has seen: and the word of the new prophecy, which
is attached to our faith, bears witness to it, having even prophesied
that for a sign there would also be an image of the city made present
to view, before its actual manifestation. This prophecy was
recently fulfilled, during the expedition to the East: for it is
admitted, even on heathen men's evidence, that in Judaea for
forty days there was a city suspended from the sky at the break
of morning, that the whole fashion of the ramparts faded out as

24. 1 The work de spe fidelium, which is lost, was known to Jerome: it probably
owed much to Irenaeus, AH. v. xxxi-xxxvi.

2 This account of the millennial reign of the saints on earth before the final
resurrection may owe much to the imagination of Montanus and the new
prophecy, as well as to Rev. 20: 6. But the idea is found also in Papias, Justin,
and Irenaeus; Jerome says that Dionysius of Alexandria elegantly ridiculed
the theory; Augustine, late in life, thought it a tolerable opinion, and one which
he had himself once held. There is no other reference, either Christian or pagan,
to a miraculous appearance in Palestine during the expedition of Severus against
the Parthians.


III. 24 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 249

day advanced, and at other times it suddenly disappeared. This
city we affirm has been provided by God for the reception of the
saints by resurrection, and for their refreshment with abundance
of all blessings—spiritual ones—in compensation for those which
in this world we have either refused or been denied. For it is
both just, and worthy of God, that his servants should also have
joy in that place where they have suffered affliction in his name.
This is the manner of the heavenly kingdom: within the space
of its thousand years is comprised the resurrection of the saints,
who arise either earlier or later according to their deserts: after
which, when the destruction of the world and the fire of judge-
ment have been set in motion, we shall be changed in a moment
into angelic substance, by virtue of that supervesture of incorrup-
tion,b and be translated into that heavenly kingdom, the same
that you now bring under discussion as though it had not been
prophesied in the Creator's scriptures, and it were thereby proved
that Christ belongs to that other god by whom first and by whom
alone you say it has been revealed. But be sure for the future
that the Creator has in fact prophesied of that kingdom, and that
even without prophecy it had a claim on the belief of such as
belong to the Creator. What do you think? When, after that first
promise by which it is to be as the sand for multitude,c Abraham's
seed is also designed to be as the number of the stars,d are not
these the intimations of an earthly as well as a heavenly dispensa-
tion? When Isaac blesses his son Jacob with the words, God give
to thee of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth,e
are not these
indications of both kinds of bounty? In fact one must here take
note even of the structure of the blessing itself. For in respect of
Jacob, who is the type of God's later and more honourable
people, that is, of ourselves, the first promise is of the dew of
heaven, the second of the fatness of the earth. For we ourselves
are first invited to heavenly <blessings> when we are rent away
from the world, and so it appears afterwards that we are also
to obtain earthly ones. Also your own gospel has, Seek ye fast the
kingdom of God, and these things shall be added unto you.f
But to Esau
he promises an earthly blessing, and appends a heavenly one,
when he says, Thy habitation shall be from the fatness of the earth and
from the dew of heaven.g
For the Jew's covenant is in Esau, as they
are the sons prior by birth but inferior in affection, and having
begun with earthly benefits through the law, is afterwards by an


III. 24 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 251

act of faith led to heavenly things through the gospel. But when
Jacob dreams of a ladder set firm on earth up to heaven, and of
angels some ascending and others descending, and of the Lord
standing above it, shall we perchance be rash in our interpreta-
tion that by this ladder it is indicated that a road to heaven, by
which some arrive there, but from which others fall away, has
been set up by the Lord's judgement? Why then, when he had
woken up and had at first been shaken by the dread of the place,
did he betake himself to an interpretation of the dream? Having
said, How dreadful is this place, he adds, This is none other but the
house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.h
For he had seen Christ
the Lord, who is the temple of God and also the gate, for by him
we enter heaven. And certainly he would not have mentioned
a gate of heaven if in the Creator's dispensation there were no
entry into heaven. But there is a gate which lets us in, and a way
which leads us there, already laid down by Christ. Of him Amos
says, Who buildeth up his ascent into heaven,i surely not for himself
alone, but also for those of his who will be with him. And thou
shalt bind them upon thee,
it says, like adornment upon a bride.j Thus
at those who by that ascent are making their way to heavenly
kingdoms, the Spirit marvels, saying, They fly as those that are
hawks, as the clouds fly, and as the nestlings of doves, towards me,k
mean-
ing, in simplicity, like doves. For we shall be taken up into the
clouds to meet the Lord,l the apostle says, when that Son of man,
of whom Daniel speaks,m comes in the clouds, and so shall we
ever be with the Lord, so long as he is both on earth and in heaven:
and, because of the ungrateful of both promises, he calls even the
very elements to witness, Hear O heaven, and give ear O earth.n For
my part, even though the scripture did not so often hold out to
me the hand of heavenly hope, so as to give me sufficient reason
to expect this promise too, yet because I am already in posses-
sion of earthly grace, I should be in expectation also of some-
thing from heaven, from God who is the God of heaven as he
is of earth. So I should believe that the Christ who promises
higher things is the Christ of him who had also promised things
more lowly, of him who by small things had given proof of things
greater, who also had reserved for Christ alone this proclamation
of a kingdom unheard of—if it was unheard of—so that earthly
glory should be spoken of by servants, but heavenly glory by
God himself. You however argue for another Christ, even from


III. 24 ADVERSUS MARCIONEM 253

the fact that he tells of a new kingdom. You need first to cite
some instance of kindness given, or else I shall have good reason
to doubt the credibility of so great a promise as you affirm is to
be hoped for. In fact before all else you need to prove that he
who you profess promises heavenly things, has any heaven of
his own. As things are, you are giving invitations to dinner, but
not showing at which house: you are telling of a kingdom, but not
pointing out the palace. Is this because your Christ promises a
heavenly kingdom when he has no heaven, in the same way as
he made profession of humanity without having a body? What
a phantasm it all is! What a hollow pretence of so great a promise!

 


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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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