Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tertullian's Exegesis of Isaiah 44:24 (Adversus Praxean 19)

"By thus attaching the Son to Himself, He becomes His own interpreter in what sense He stretched out the heavens alone, meaning alone with His Son, even as He is one with His Son. The utterance, therefore, will be in like manner the Son's, 'I have stretched out the heavens alone,' because by the Word were the heavens established. Inasmuch, then, as the heaven was prepared when Wisdom was present in the Word, and since all things were made by the Word, it is quite correct to say that even the Son stretched out the heaven alone, because He alone ministered to the Father's work. It must also be He who says, 'I am the First, and to all futurity I AM.' The Word, no doubt, was before all things. 'In the beginning was the Word'; and in that beginning He was sent forth by the Father. The Father, however, has no beginning, as proceeding from none; nor can He be seen, since He was not begotten. He who has always been alone could never have had order or rank. Therefore, if they have determined that the Father and the Son must be regarded as one and the same, for the express purpose of vindicating the unity of God, that unity of His is preserved intact; for He is one, and yet He has a Son, who is equally with Himself comprehended in the same Scriptures."


Matt13weedhacker said...

Hi Edgar.

I came accross a comment online that got me thinking.

Someone suggested that Irenaeus may have been the "Praxaes" whom Tertullian wrote against in an un-named book written by "Hall (1992)."

It immediately made me think of Eusebius Ecc. Hist. Book IV. Chaps. 14-21. where he speaks of Florinus and Blastus being "Cheif" heretics at Rome in the context of Montantism.

Is it possible that Irenaeus old friend Florinus was a Montantist aswell as being Gnostic?

Or was Irenaeus trying to warn Florinus against Blastus Montantist views aswell as Gnostic Polythiesm in his letter "On Monarchy"?

Is this the same "Monarchy" of the Father which the "majority of [Christian] believers" in Adv Prax c. 3, believed in that both Justin Martyr and Irenaeus and others defended?

Whats your views?

Edgar Foster said...

Good question, Mt 13:

I'll have time to offer a reply on Friday.



Edgar Foster said...

Hi Matthew13:

Firstly, I'll note that in my study on Tertullian (Angelomorphic Christology and the Exegesis of Psalm 8:5), I suggested (based on my research at the time) that "Praxeas" could have been Zephyrinus or Callistus. In endnote 6 on page 48 of the publication, I allude to Hall. What I say there is that Hall sets forth the idea that Irenaeus was actually Praxeas. (See p. 70 of Hall's book.) I no longer own Hall's study, so I could be mistaken. But that's what I got from his book when I wrote mine.

Regarding Florinus: As Johann Lorenz Mosheim suggests (based on Walch), we have indications that Florinus was a Gnostic, but it's not so clear that Blastus was; Irenaeus may have opposed Blastus for other reasons. Based on the available evidence, I don't think we can be sure about the identity of Praxeas. Timothy Barnes writes: "Certainty is unattainable." I also wonder if Blastus would have adhered to Montanist views. One argument against Zephrinus and Callistus is that they were not from Asia. Could the same objection apply to Blastus?

Best regards,


Edgar Foster said...

I checked Hall's book on Googlebooks and he writes that it's "not even out of the question" that Irenaeus could have been Praxeas. Glad to know I did not flub that endnote. :)