Sunday, November 09, 2008

Paul and the "Heretics"?

I have been racking my brain trying to find a patristic reference (Tertullian or Irenaeus?) that states that all the heretics got part of their ideas from Paul and claimed him as there own. I read it somewhere and cannot for the life of me remember where. Does anyone where the substance of this idea comes from?


Anonymous said...

Did you read it while you had that crazy fever..?

Matt Viney said...


Actually, I think Augustine said something of the like in his writings against the Manichaeans. If I locate it, I'll let you know.

Matt V
(at Queensland Theological College)

Unknown said...

Does it have anything to do with the preference for Paul in Marcion's canon?

Anonymous said...

I think F.F. Bruce said it. Something to the effect of "only Marcion understood Paul and even he didn't get it"

Danny Zacharias said...

Behold the power of a 5 second Accordance search (yet another reason for you to make the switch)

Irenaeus, Against Heresies, book 4 chapter 41, paragraph 4
"4. Inasmuch as the words of the Lord are numerous, while they all proclaim one and the same Father, the Creator of this world, it was incumbent also upon me, for their own sake, to refute by many [arguments] those who are involved in many errors, if by any means, when they are confuted by many [proofs], they may be converted to the truth and saved. But it is necessary to subjoin to this composition, in what follows, also the doctrine of Paul after the words of the Lord, to examine the opinion of this man, and expound the apostle, and to explain whatsoever [passages] have received other interpretations from the heretics, who have altogether misunderstood what Paul has spoken, and to point out the folly of their mad opinions; and to demonstrate from that same Paul, from whose [writings] they press questions upon us, that they are indeed utterers of falsehood, but that the apostle was a preacher of the truth, and that he taught all things agreeable to the preaching of the truth; [to the effect that] it was one God the Father who spake with Abraham, who gave the law, who sent the prophets beforehand, who in the last times sent His Son, and conferred salvation upon His own handiwork — that is, the substance of flesh. Arranging, then, in another book, the rest of the words of the Lord, which He taught concerning the Father not by parables, but by expressions taken in their obvious meaning (sed simpliciter ipsis dictionibus), and the exposition of the Epistles of the blessed apostle, I shall, with God’s aid, furnish thee with the complete work of the exposure and refutation of knowledge, falsely so called; thus practising myself and thee in [these] five books for presenting opposition to all heretics."

Chrysostom epistle to Galatians ch.1 also states "Another class of heretics11 seize upon these words of Paul, and pervert his testimony to an accusation of the present life. Lo, say they, he has called this present world evil, and pray tell me what does “world” [age] αιων mean but time measured by days and seasons? Is then the distinction of days and the course of the sun evil? no one would assert this even if he be carried away to the extreme of unreasonableness."

Ben said...

There's also a bit in Tertullian's Against Marcion 4.5.1.

You can get the ANF translation (at least vol 1-5) to put into Bibleworks. See under versions: church fathers:
It makes combined word searches pretty easy.

Anonymous said...

You could be thinking of 2nd Peter, actually. (2 Pet 3:15-17) "And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness."