Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Did Marcion's Apostolikon contain 10 Pauline letters?

Many scholars have come to the conclusion, quite erroneously- from a place of wishful thinking- that Marcion's Apostolikon collection of Paul's letters contained ten letters. They also ignore the difference between epistles and letters. One being private and the other being intended for a wide audience or a particular audience. They will point out that the pastoral epistles contradict the rest and Hebrews never names Paul so they conclude that Marcion must have had everything but 1Timothy, 2Timothy, Titus, and Hebrews. This is not based on the evidence though.

Not one Church Father ever makes a claim to this effect. Irenaeus stated:

"In like manner, too, he [Marcion] dismembered the epistles of Paul, removing all that the apostle said concerning the God who made the world." (quote of Irenaeus page. 419 A Dictionary of Early Christian beliefs.)

"For he (Marcion) made excisions of the scriptures to suit his own subject matter." (quote of Tertullian page. 420 A Dictionary of Early Christian beliefs.) 

Notice what is being said here. Irenaeus claims Marcion dismembered (much as Tertullian says mutilated or excised, and separated the Law and Gospel and Old and New Testaments) Paul's Epistles.  He does not say his letters. Thus, it is possible he cut out entire letters, cut out entire passages, and did not possess any Letters. The following is a list of Pauline Epistles and Letters known to us:

    1. Epistle to the Romans (canonical)
    2. First Epistle to the Corinthians (canonical)
    3. Second Epistle to the Corinthians (canonical)
    4. Epistle to the Galatians (canonical)
    5. Epistle to the Ephesians (canonical- modern dispute)
    6. Epistle to the Philippians (canonical)
    7. Epistle to the Colossians (canonical- modern dispute)
    8. First Epistle to the Thessalonians (canonical)
    9. Second Epistle to the Thessalonians (canonical- modern dispute- anti-Marcionite)
    10. Epistle to the Hebrews (canonical but highly disputed as being by Paul)
    11. Letter to Philemon (canonical)
    12. Letter to Titus (pastoral, canonical)
    13. First Letter to Timothy (pastoral, canonical)
    14. Second Letter to Timothy (pastoral, canonical)
    15. Third Epistle to the Corinthians (apocryphal but extant, part of Acts of Paul)
    16. Letter Correspondence of Paul and Seneca the Philosopher (apocryphal but extant; Armenian Orthodox church)
    17. Epistle to the Laodiceans (thought to be lost, there is a letter preserved by Jerome, mentioned in Colossians; see codex Fuldensis)
    18. Epistle to the Alexandrians (lost but mentioned the Muratorian fragment) 
    19. Two missing Epistles to Corinth (mentioned in 1Corinthians and 2Corinthians)
    20. One missing Epistle to Ephesus (mentioned in Ephesians)
What does Tertullian mean that he separated the Testaments or that he separated the Law and Gospel? What does he mean by excising the scriptures? Marcion was known to have wrote his infamous Antitheses in which he excised passages from scripture to show the difference between his two concepts of God. Paul, too, separated the Law and Gospel and Old and New Testaments/ Covenants. Paul, too, excised Old Testament scripture.

When Irenaeus came to Rome he used New Testament writings to prove his own theses. He used Revelation to prove that there has to be four gospels and he used 2Thessalonians and other writings like Hebrews to prove an antichrist and to attack Marcion. He used Hebrews to attack Jews and claim Jesus as high priest, this later developed back into the Simonian doctrine that the Pope is Jesus reincarnate. Which itself is a mockery of Paul's concept of omnipresence in which the Spirit of God and Christ is within the elect. The pastorals were added to deride Paul's doctrines and 3Corinthians was a failed attempt to prove the carnal resurrection against 1Corinthians 15:50, a passage despised by Irenaeus. Paul's letters contradict him because Paul always sees 'Flesh and blood' as exactly that,  flesh and blood. He is never figurative with this phrase.

1Thessalonians, Philippians, 2Corinthians, Romans, Colossians, Philemon, 2Thessalonians, 1Timothy, 2Timothy, and Titus made no mention of the phrase 'flesh and blood'. However, Galatians, 1Corinthians, Hebrews, and Ephesians do make mention of this phrase and all use it one time.

"To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus." (Galatians 1:16-1:17)
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." (1Corinthians 15:50-15:51)
"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." (Hebrews 2:14)
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:12)
If Paul is not referring to physical 'flesh and blood' but rather, he is being figurative, how then can we explain how he could 'confer' with 'flesh and blood' who are defined as 'apostles' in 'Jerusalem'? How can we say God is invisible as he always does and say that 'flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God' and how can God be 'flesh and blood' and be within us without being us? How can we be changed from 'flesh and blood' to 'flesh and blood'? How can the children be partakers of a 'flesh and blood' existence as Jesus was but yet Jesus had not possessed 'flesh and blood'? If 'flesh and blood' is not literal here then it is not literal in John's Gospel that the Logos took on flesh. How does one wrestle with invisible 'flesh and blood' and how is it held to be of a visible nature in opposition to the invisible nature of 'Rulers [Archons] of the darkness of this world [Aeon]' who are spiritually wicked? If 'flesh and blood' is figurative then how is power invisible and an attribute of God?

So, here's what Irenaeus says: [book 5 ch. 9 and book 5 ch. 10 of Against Heresies written around 192 AD]

"Among the other [truths] proclaimed by the apostle, there is also this one, “That flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” This is which is adduced by all the heretics in support of their folly, with an attempt to annoy us, and to point out that the handiwork of God is not saved. They do not take this fact into consideration, that there are three things out of which, as I have shown, the complete man is composed —flesh, soul, and spirit. One of these does indeed preserve and fashion [the man]—this is the spirit; while as to another it is united and formed—that is the flesh; then [comes] that which is between these two—that is the soul, which sometimes indeed, when it follows the spirit, is raised up by it, but sometimes it sympathizes with the flesh, and falls into carnal lusts. Those then, as many as they be, who have not that which saves and forms [us] into life [eternal], shall be, and shall be called, [mere] flesh and blood; for these are they who have not the Spirit of God in themselves. Wherefore men of this stamp are spoken of by the Lord as “dead;” for, says He, “Let the dead bury their dead,” because they have not the Spirit which quickens man."
There are some underlying ironies in this passage. First off, Irenaeus is teaching a threefold division of man which is a Valentinian heresy according to him. He is claiming that the flesh and blood is the handiwork of God whereas Valentinians said everything came from God but it was not God who directly created the flesh. Irenaeus claims the complete man is composed of flesh, soul, and spirit. He is stealing the Valentinians concept of the elect or perfected man, yet another thing he wrestles from his opponents. He claims the spirit fashions the man yet how can the spirit fashion the man when the spirit is 'of God' not 'is God'? To admit the spirit fashioning the man is to admit the creation of the cosmos by angels which Cerinthus admits and Hebrews does as well, and as do the Manichaeans. Not all men have the spirit according to Valentinus against whom Irenaeus claims all men have the spirit except Valentinus and heretics. He says the spirit raises up the soul but when sympathizing with the flesh falls into carnal lusts yet the resurrection is carnal. He is saying the soul is all that is raised here and he is basically agreeing that when is baptized they are resurrected, just as Marcion says, or the case can be made, that he agrees that the soul is raised at baptism which is spiritual when one receives the gnosis or spirit. He claims that the Gospel of the Lord says "Let the dead bury their dead" and that this is figurative, meaning the man without the spirit is 'dead'. (Marcion did not know of such a saying of Jesus, for he ends the passage and 10:42 not 10:60). How then does he not agree with Marcion and Paul and Valentinus that the dead man is without the spirit and the dead man is the natural man, and that the dead man is ignorant of God's will which was left to the son? How then can he maintain Abraham is part of the inheritance when Abram became Abraham and was circumcised out of the inheritance and give his own abode of rest? He berates men who understand the opinions they express and their logical and theological implications and yet he is so dim he cannot do so. How can Irenaeus be a light to those in darkness when his own eye is in darkness, in a thick fog of ignorance?

"On the other hand, as many as fear God and trust in His Son’s advent, and who through faith do establish the Spirit of God in their hearts,—such men as these shall be properly called both “pure,” and “spiritual,” and “those living to God,” because they possess the Spirit of the Father, who purifies man, and raises him up to the life of God. For as the Lord has testified that “the flesh is weak,” so [does He also say] that “the spirit is willing.” For this latter is capable of working out its own suggestions. If, therefore, any one admix the ready inclination of the Spirit to be, as it were, a stimulus to the infirmity of the flesh, it inevitably follows that what is strong will prevail over the weak, so that the weakness of the flesh will be absorbed by the strength of the Spirit; and that the man in whom this takes place cannot in that case be carnal, but spiritual, because of the fellowship of the Spirit. Thus it is, therefore, that the martyrs bear their witness, and despise death, not after the infirmity of the flesh, but because of the readiness of the Spirit. For when the infirmity of the flesh is absorbed, it exhibits the Spirit as powerful; and again, when the Spirit absorbs the weakness [of the flesh], it possesses the flesh as an inheritance in itself, and from both of these is formed a living man,—living, indeed, because he partakes of the Spirit, but man, because of the substance of flesh."
Irenaeus is not agreeing with Paul for Paul says that by grace through faith the spirit is 'received' as a 'gift' from 'God'. The Spirit is a noun, not an adjective. It is not a descriptive word of a man who acts a certain way, it is a literal gift received from God, it is the completion to make a man's spirit whole, it is the bridegroom for the bride within us, that speck of feminine divinity broke off from Sophia, or wisdom, the Holy Spirit. It is not the inclination of the spirit or the infirmity of the flesh being referred to here but it is 'flesh and blood' carnal existence, material creation. The spiritual man is not just the man who has faith, nor is it the man who has faith in the so-called truth Irenaeus professes. The spiritual man is faithful to God, as in loyal and trusting and trustworthy in carrying out his message. Irenaeus has proven he is not a trustworthy witness and that his fictional teacher Polycarp who is really Justin Martyr the pupil of Cerinthus- is not a more trustworthy witness to the truth than Marcion or Irenaeus but rather, the least trustworthy of thr three. It is not Papias, Polycarp, and Irenaeus, and Clement who passed on any truth. How is one 'raised up to the life of God' and since when was God a man who walked on the earth? God the Father was never a man and never has been a man and never will be a man. He claims man is a man because of the substance of flesh, or the essence of flesh so how then is a whole man one who has flesh and soul? He errs here because man is not his flesh, man is his soul, and man was created on the first day or first heaven as pure soul with spirit as his garment. Man fell and shed his light garments for fleshly ones. Irenaeus is moralizing the teachings in order to leaven the lump.

"The flesh, therefore, when destitute of the Spirit of God, is dead, not having life, and cannot possess the kingdom of God: [it is as] irrational blood, like water poured out upon the ground. And therefore he says, “As is the earthy, such are they that are earthy.”  But where the Spirit of the Father is, there is a living man; [there is] the rational blood preserved by God for the avenging [of those that shed it]; [there is] the flesh possessed by the Spirit, forgetful indeed of what belongs to it, and adopting the quality of the Spirit, being made conformable to the Word of God. And on this account he (the apostle) declares, “As we have borne the image of him who is of the earth, we shall also bear the image of Him who is from heaven.” What, therefore, is the earthly? That which was fashioned. And what is the heavenly? The Spirit. As therefore he says, when we were destitute of the celestial Spirit, we walked in former times in the oldness of the flesh, not obeying God; so now let us, receiving the Spirit, walk in newness of life, obeying God. Inasmuch, therefore, as without the Spirit of God we cannot be saved, the apostle exhorts us through faith and chaste conversation to preserve the Spirit of God, lest, having become non-participators of the Divine Spirit, we lose the kingdom of heaven; and he exclaims, that flesh in itself, and blood, cannot possess the kingdom of God."
He takes 'dead' which means 'ignorance' as meaning our flesh is dead. This is ludicrous because the flesh is truly alive and truly animated because of the soul. To deny this means to say our souls are dead and is no part of the apostolic message. This must be something John the Baptist made up. We are not followers of John. What is irrational blood and how does he conclude that it is water? He does this based on Valentinian exegesis in which water is blood and spirit. His quotes all defeat his thesis that flesh and blood can go to the kingdom of God and this is true when he quotes "As is the earthy, such are they that are earthy". Paul is saying that the carnal earthy flesh and blood remains in this Aeon, the material realm, and the scriptures say this will be burnt up because it is chaff. He thinks because Paul says there are different types of flesh as an earthly example that he really means there is a visible flesh of the spirit and in this he again errs. He says the spirit is 'forgetful' when this too is Valentinian belief and in no way Catholic. He uses kingdom of heaven in relation to Paul, but this idea is heretical and teaches a kingdom in the sky and that God's name is Heaven. We are not Maccabee traitors. When Paul says we shall bear the image of God he is speaking of our soul as our identity that puts on the spirit and sheds the flesh so it can be in the image of God as it once was, and this God is invisible and this language is figurative and is used to show how entirely different God is from mortal man in his flesh and blood.

"If, however, we must speak strictly, the flesh does not inherit, but is inherited; as also the Lord declares, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth by inheritance;” as if in the [future] kingdom, the earth, from whence exists the substance of our flesh, is to be possessed by inheritance. This is the reason for His wishing the temple (i.e., the flesh) to be clean, that the Spirit of God may take delight therein, as a bridegroom with a bride. As, therefore, the bride cannot [be said] to wed, but to be wedded, when the bridegroom comes and takes her, so also the flesh cannot by itself possess the kingdom of God by inheritance; but it can be taken for an inheritance into the kingdom of God. For a living person inherits the goods of the deceased; and it is one thing to inherit, another to be inherited. The former rules, and exercises power over, and orders the things inherited at his will; but the latter things are in a state of subjection, are under order, and are ruled over by him who has obtained the inheritance. What, therefore, is it that lives? The Spirit of God, doubtless. What, again, are the possessions of the deceased? The various parts of the man, surely, which rot in the earth. But these are inherited by the Spirit when they are translated into the kingdom of heaven. For this cause, too, did Christ die, that the Gospel covenant being manifested and known to the whole world, might in the first place set free His slaves; and then afterwards, as I have already shown, might constitute them heirs of His property, when the Spirit possesses them by inheritance. For he who lives inherits, but the flesh is inherited. In order that we may not lose life by losing that Spirit which possesses us, the apostle, exhorting us to the communion of the Spirit, has said, according to reason, in those words already quoted, “That flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Just as if he were to say, “Do not err; for unless the Word of God dwell with, and the Spirit of the Father be in you, and if ye shall live frivolously and carelessly as if ye were this only, viz., mere flesh and blood, ye cannot inherit the kingdom of God."
Here, we find his double mind and his backsliding tendency. His hypocrisy and his lies when he says that strictly speaking the flesh does not inherit but rather is inherited. How can we inherit flesh if we had not pre-existed? This idea is ludicrous and is shared by Origen. God has a store room of soulish matter rather than carnal matter in which he fashions a soul once a carnal body is given birth to. It is not pre-existing. This is reincarnation theology. Irenaeus uses the Gospel of the Hebrews in which it says the meek will inherit the earth. He then says since the meek inherit the things of the flesh then it makes sense, and follows, that flesh and blood does not inherit but is inherited but he is deceptive in his exegesis, for now the meek do not possess flesh but the earth is now flesh because Adam was made from earth. This is more pre-existence heresy. He forgets that the promise of God and his legal will put into action by his son imparted the spirit by way of the gnosis, adopting us into his inheritance, and inheritance we trust will be inacted, a trust that gives us a place in the INVISIBLE KINGDOM OF GOD. When is this inherited listed as flesh? It is the Jews as we see in John's gospel who think the inheritance of a fleshly continuation and fleshly millenial kingdom under a flesh and blood king. This is antichrist teaching of John baptist. So, because he denies Paul's gospel he rewrites it as he convicts his opponents of doing. This is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit because Paul spoke by way of the Holy spirit and his message is how it was precisely intended.

[“Do not err; for unless the Word of God dwell with, and the Spirit of the Father be in you, and if ye shall live frivolously and carelessly as if ye were this only, viz., mere flesh and blood, ye cannot inherit the kingdom of God."]
The above is not what Paul means and surely not what he says. For he says plainly:

 "Now this I say, brethren, that [flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God]; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." (1Corinthians 15:50-15:51)
Paul tells us in all of chapter 15, in very precise detail what he means and how corruption is material creation and incorruption is shedding this creation with the soul and spirit being wed and giving way to a new creation because we were asleep, ignorant, and forgetful of our intended state, substance, or essence. There are two Aeons in Paul, one visible and one invisible. Marcion admits and Polycarp denies it therefore Polycarp has fallen from truth and grace and into works of law and traditions of men, leaven of Pharisees and lawyers. Paul says we shall all be changed which in other words with the same exact meaning means 'we will all change' as in change our garments, we trade flesh for spirit. Our soul being our identity, our person, our humanity. Not our flesh and blood which is a shadow of heavenly things, a polluted form of glory.

"This truth, therefore, in order that we may not reject the engrafting of the Spirit while pampering the flesh. “But thou, being a wild olive-tree,” he says, “hast been grafted into the good olive-tree, and been made a partaker of the fatness of the olive-tree.” As, therefore, when the wild olive has been engrafted, if it remain in its former condition, it is “cut off, and cast into the fire;” but if it takes kindly to the graft, and is changed into the good olive-tree, it becomes a fruit-bearing olive, planted, as it were, in a king’s park (paradiso): so likewise men, if they do truly progress by faith towards better things, and receive the Spirit of God, and bring forth the fruit thereof, shall be spiritual, as being planted in the paradise of God."
He fails to grasp what I stated above about the chaff being burned. This chaff is material nature and creation, matter itself, not some abstract idea of unfaithfulness, or heresy. It is very real. Paul says he speaks with worldy examples but did not wish that they would be understood in a worldy manner and he condemns those who understood them as such. For Irenaeus it will be 'as if' we are spiritual not 'when we are spiritual' and therefore 'when we are pure spirit'.

"But if they cast out the Spirit, and remain in their former condition, desirous of being of the flesh rather than of the Spirit, then it is very justly said with regard to men of this stamp, “That flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God;” just as if any one were to say that the wild olive is not received into the paradise of God. Admirably therefore does the apostle exhibit our nature, and God’s universal appointment, in his discourse about flesh and blood and the wild olive. For as the good olive, if neglected for a certain time, if left to grow wild and to run to wood, does itself become a wild olive; or again, if the wild olive be carefully tended and grafted, it naturally reverts to its former fruit-bearing condition: so men also, when they become careless, and bring forth for fruit the lusts of the flesh like woody produce, are rendered, by their own fault, unfruitful in righteousness. For when men sleep, the enemy sows the material of tares; and for this cause did the Lord command His disciples to be on the watch. And again, those persons who are not bringing forth the fruits of righteousness, and are, as it were, covered over and lost among brambles, if they use diligence, and receive the word of God as a graft, arrive at the pristine nature of man—that which was created after the image and likeness of God."   
Our fruits are our actions and have nothing to do with our nature but rather the natures influence them. He understands nothing of the olive grafting nor of the sower for these are speaking of actions and natures respectively. When men sleep, the enemy sows tares and rightfully so for indeed does Irenaeus act as the enemy sowing the tares: the wrong interpretations of the flesh rather than of the spirit. The sleeping men are sheep, blind before their shearer who is the enemy that sows the counterfeit gospel. They are ignorant. You cannot just receive the Word of God for some are incapable of doing so because they are too forgetful and too ruined by the influence and nature of flesh that they either entirely lack a particle of spirit or cannot awaken the particle within them. To Irenaeus, a pristine man is ambiguous to say the least so from what I can ascertain from his clearest statements is that this perfect man is flesh, soul, and spirit like some kind of Russian doll and he is transformed into another flesh, soul, spirit. Paul never claims that the flesh is transformed into another flesh and Irenaeus ignores this to his own destruction.
"But as the engrafted wild olive does not certainly lose the substance of its wood, but changes the quality of its fruit, and receives another name, being now not a wild olive, but a fruit-bearing olive, and is called so; so also, when man is grafted in by faith and receives the Spirit of God, he certainly does not lose the substance of flesh, but changes the quality of the fruit [brought forth, i.e.,] of his works, and receives another name,  showing that he has become changed for the better, being now not [mere] flesh and blood, but a spiritual man, and is called such. Then, again, as the wild olive, if it be not grafted in, remains useless to its lord because of its woody quality, and is cut down as a tree bearing no fruit, and cast into the fire; so also man, if he does not receive through faith the engrafting of the Spirit, remains in his old condition, and being [mere] flesh and blood, he cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Rightly therefore does the apostle declare, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;” and, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God:” not repudiating the substance of flesh, but showing that into it the Spirit must be infused. And for this reason, he says, “This mortal must put on immortality, and this corruptible must put on incorruption.” And again he declares, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." He sets this forth still more plainly, where he says, “The body indeed is dead, because of sin; but the Spirit is life, because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies, because of His Spirit dwelling in you.” And again he says, in the Epistle to the Romans, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die.”  He does not prohibit them from living their lives in the flesh, for he was himself in the flesh when he wrote to them; but he cuts away the lusts of the flesh, those which bring death upon a man. And for this reason he says in continuation, “But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the works of the flesh, ye shall live. For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.”  
The tree 'bearing no fruit' is the old leaven (teaching, doctrines, hypocrisy) of the old testament (covenant) of the dead letter of the law born from the destroying blind angel to subject the wicked in the hardness of their hearts. It has nothing to do with actions. The tree is the covenant.  Irenaeus uses many little rhetorical and linguistic tricks which is why when he editted Paul's epistles and forged others in his name he said things like 'I am not trying to trick you' and 'I do not lie' was placed after every interpolation. He switches 'of' to 'in' and tries to make us believe they mean the same thing when they do not. To be 'of' or 'after' the flesh if referring to the 'sins of the flesh' and all 'sins' for Paul are actions or 'fruits' so being of the flesh is doing the works or sins of the flesh. Being 'in' the flesh is referring to our nature not our actions, it is our soul that is in our flesh like a Russian doll. Not too hard to comprehend. He even blurs whether a passage is past-tense, future-tense, or present-tense.

Let's look at some obvious interpolations from the hand of Irenaeus:

"-the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 1:2-1:4)

Irenaeus makes the argument that only a Gnostic heretic calls Jesus the Savior but a Catholic calls him Lord. This is because Catholics use slave terminology and endorse slavery whereas Gnostics teach liberation and renuniciation of the world which concludes they abandoned slavery and saw themselves as 'children of God' and 'children of light' not slaves. Irenaeus has to edit the gospels to explain away the meaning of Jesus' name so he does this in Matthew (the Gospel of the Hebrew heretic corrupters of the Church):

"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel which means 'God with us'." (Matthew 1:23)
This does not tell the truth for his name means 'Savior'. In Nomina Sacra he is called Savior, not Jesus. It says 'our Savior, Christ'. Iesous is his name in Greek, but Soter is Savior. To say they called Christ by Soter could mean there were people claiming Pope Soter was the Messiah. But I digress in this point- back to what I mean to say. Jesus said that people did not receive him in his name but if another came in his name they would receive him. Paul says people would teach other Jesus' meaning in Nomina Sacra, other Saviors. This is the Pope they preached and placed their faith in, even early as the 2nd century. The name means, 'the existent one has become my salvation' Yah is the existent one, not YHWH. (see Exodus 15:2b) The name was Yo-Shua, not Yehoshua or any other garbage name.

The Coptic of the Nag Hammadi Libaray uses J-S in the Gospel of Thomas which can also mean 'The Healer' or 'the Savior'. In P46 there are 9 out of 15 nomina sacra and heaven is not used as a equal term with God one single time. Christ, Son, Jesus, Savior, and Mother all use a 3-letter sacred name abbreviation. God and Lord use 2 letters. In P46 the sacred names for Mother and Savior are not used.

The following passages mention a Savior and still use the nomina sacra for Jesus but do not use the word savior as nomina sacra.

"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." (Philippians 3:20-3:21)

 "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body." (Ephesians 5:23)
Michigan papyri, close up photographs of the real papyrus
The following passages may or may not have used nomina sacra for savior originally and are not found in P46 but oddly enough they are the pastorals. Supposedly only Gnostic heretics call Jesus the Savior yet Irenaeus' favorite so-called Pauline letters use this term for him. They call him 'soter'. Gnostics called him savior because it was his name not because it was a title! In Philippians it becomes obvious for the passage above that 'Lord Jesus' was added. Also, the abbreviations are evidence of a lower Christology than that of the Nag Hammadi nomina sacra which use 2 lettter abbreviations for Jesus and Christ. Note that Mark and Matthew absolutely never call him Savior and that Luke and John do. However, Luke calls God the Savior in Luke 1:47, an infancy passage added by Irenaeus inspired by Justin. John 4:42 calls Jesus the Savior of the world. Luke 2:11 equates Jesus with God by calling him the Savior and claims he was born. How can God be born? The truth is, Gnostics never called him Savior and even the Gospel of Thomas never does. It was Irenaeus who did and in effect is calling himself a heretic in his arguments just as 1Peter and Revelation call Jesus the antichrist. Just as the interpolations in Paul make him a boaster, liar, or hypocrite trying to convince us he isn't.
 "But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." (2Timothy 1:10) 
"God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ." (1Timothy 1:1)
 "God our Saviour." (1Timothy 2:3; Titus 1:3 and 3:4)
"we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe." (1Timothy 4:10)
"God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour." (Titus 1:4)
 "doctrine of God our Saviour." (Titus 2:10)
 "God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13)
"Jesus Christ our Saviour." (Titus 3:6)
When studying the passages below from the Chester Beatty collection in comparison to the NIV you will notice that the words "Not that" do not appear in Philippians 3:12. Paul says he has attained salvation and been made perfect. So much for Roman Catholicism. It also says that "their reputation is their shame" in Philippians 3:19 referring to the 'super-apostles' like Irenaeus. This copy is so old that the section that says 'savior' and 'Lord Jesus Christ' is completely cut out and intentionally. These may very well be the last surviving firsthand copies of the autographs. Savior says [S]av[ior] so we can't read the whole word, for all we know it does not even say the word. Ephesians I will have to examine further.






  1. Have you even read the whole of Tertullian's "Five Books Against Marcion"? In the 5th book Tertullian claims to go letter by letter or epistle by epistle, whatever you want to call it. He goes through 10 of them claiming to mention some information about what Marcion removed and what he left in -- this is where the idea that Marcion had 10 epistles of Paul comes from. It is quite likely that Tertullian doesn't know what he's talking about. Probably Marcion is simply the author of the original versions of Romans and Galatians and had absolutely nothing to do with any of the other epistles or letters. But in book 5, Tertullian puts forth this fiction that Marcion took 10 epistles of Paul and cut material out of them, and that's where the idea comes from.

  2. BTW, can you give a reference for this claim of yours that Irenaeus says only Gnostics call Jesus 'Saviour'? This seems like a very new claim to me.

  3. It seems Marcion wrote 2Corinthians the way I read it. Clearly you have not read Irenaeus. AH 1.1.3, "Such are the thirty Aeons in the erroneous system of these men; and they are described as being wrapped up, so to speak, in silence, and known to none [except these professing teachers]. Moreover, they declare that this invisible and spiritual Pleroma of theirs is tripartite, being divided into an Ogdoad, a Decad, and a Duodecad. And for this reason they affirm it was that the "Saviour"-for they do not please to call Him "Lord"-did no work in public during the space of thirty years,13 thus setting forth the mystery of these Aeons. They maintain also, that these thirty Aeons are most plainly indicated in the parable14 of the labourers sent into the vineyard. For some are sent about the first hour, others about the third hour, others about the sixth hour, others about the ninth hour, and others about the eleventh hour. Now, if we add up the numbers of the hours here mentioned, the sum total will be thirty: for one, three, six, nine, and eleven, when added together, form thirty. And by the hours, they hold that the Aeons were pointed out; while they maintain that these are great, and wonderful, and hitherto unspeakable mysteries which it is their special function to develop; and so they proceed when they find anything in the multitude15 of things contained in the Scriptures which they can adopt and accommodate to their baseless speculations."

  4. Also it was a typo. I meant to say that a Gnostic only calls him Savior. A Gnostic does not call him Lord for that is reserved for the Demiurge. I am not saying a Catholic does not call him Savior. The typo caused that. Anyway I will fix it later.

  5. Just because Tertullian goes through 10 epistles does not mean Marcion had 10 epistles. The Marcionites could have used 11-12 for all we know. The Muratorian fragment has Laodiceans and Alexandrians. The point was that not one father explicitly mentions such a thing.

  6. I've tried to read Ireneaus, but I must confess, I've never been able to get all the way through it. In any case, Marcion was not a Gnostic of the aeon-speculation school; that was Velentinus who comes after Marcion, as Origen says in Miscellanies 7 or such that the heretics have a tradition that Marcion was among Valentinus and Basilides et al as an old man among youngsters.

    Also, I would not derive from the comment "And for this reason they affirm it was that the Saviour-for they do not please to call Him Lord-did no work in public..." that only Gnostics call him Saviour. The complaint is not about them calling him Saviour but about their never calling him Lord.

    1. Marcion is considered Gnostic in his thinking by many Church Fathers.

    2. It is saying they call him Savior but not Lord.

  7. "Marcion was not a Gnostic of the aeon-speculation school" does not equals "Marcion was not Gnostic at all."

    1. The aeon "speculation school" actually began with Nicolas according to Irenaeus, not with Valentinus.

  8. Perhaps, but Ireaneus seems to have a tendency to make up fictional heretics.