Monday, December 18, 2017

Ephesians 7:2 (Ignatius of Antioch)

"There is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit; both made and not made; God existing in flesh; true life in death; both of Mary and of God; first passible and then impassible—even Jesus Christ our Lord." (εἷς ἰατρός ἐστιν, σαρκικὸς καὶ πνευματικός, γεννητὸς καὶ ἀγέννητος, ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ θεός, ἐν θανάτῳ ζωὴ ἀληθινή, καὶ ἐκ Μαρίας καὶ ἐκ θεοῦ, πρῶτον παθητὸς καὶ τότε ἀπαθής, Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν)

I would actually maintain that this text is at cross-purposes with the Nicene Creed, which speaks of the Son being "begotten, not created." Lightfoot translates: "There is one only physician, of flesh and of spirit, generate and ingenerate, God in man, true Life in death, Son of Mary and Son of God, first passible and then impassible, Jesus Christ our Lord."

However, see

Yet Ignatius writes that Christ was unbegotten or not generated per his divine ousia. I believe Trinitarians have serious theological problems if they side with Ignatius here. It is hard to see how the bishop avoids ditheism in this passage. For if the Son, as God qua God, is unbegotten--then he only became God's Son by virtue of his earthly birth through the virgin Mary. Furthermore, there cannot be any authentically opposed subsistent relations in the Trinitarian Godhead, if the Son is ingenerate as the Father is ingenerate. Most importantly, however, the Bible indicates that the Son was brought forth (begotten or created) prior to the inception of the material universe. When describing the preexistent Son, Scripture employs terms that suggest begettal (Jn. 1:18; Col. 1:15).

Source for the first translation. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. .


Matt13weedhacker said...

Hi Edgar.

The manuscript reading here is different to the printed text in several ways.

Here's a link to the main MS for the "Middle Recension" (preferred by Tri{3}nitarians). Check it for yourself.

Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana Plut. 57.07, Folio 245r, Page 502 (viewer).

Here's the standard printed text:

GREEK TEXT: “...εἷς ἰατρός ἐστιν, σαρκικός τε καὶ πνευματικός, γεννητὸς καὶ ἀγέννητος, ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ θεός, ἐν θανάτῳ ζωὴ ἀληθινή, καὶ ἐκ Μαριας καὶ ἐκ θεοῦ, πρῶτον παθητὸς καὶ τότε ἀπαθής, Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν...”- (7.2, Printed Text)

They have two variants here:

ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ θεός
ἐν σαρκι γένομενος θεός

The Medicean text itself:

GREEK TEXT: “...εἷς [ες = Abrv.] ἰατρός ἐστιν σαρκικός καὶ [= Abrv.] πνευματικός [πμικός = Abrv.] . [= full stop MS.] γεννητὸς καὶ [= Abrv.] ἀγέννητος ἐν σαρκὶ γενόμενος . [= full stop MS.] θεός [θς = Abrv.] ἐν ἀθανάτῳ ζωὴ ἀληθινή [Folio 246r] καὶ [= Abrv.] ἐκ Μαριας καὶ [= Abrv.] ἐκ θεοῦ . [= full stop MS.] πρῶτον παθητὸς καὶ [= Abrv.] τότε ἀπαθής. [= full stop MS.] Μὴ οὖν τις ὑμᾶς ἐξαπατάτω . [= full stop MS.] ὥσπερ οὐδὲ [οὐ δὲ = gap between?] ἐξαπατᾶσθε [ἐξ απατᾶσθε = gap between?] ὅλοι ὄντες θεοῦ [θῦ = Abrv.] . [= full stop MS.]...”- (7.2, Manuscript Text)

The manuscript reads:

θεός ἐν ἀθανάτῳ ζωὴ ἀληθινή καὶ ἐκ Μαριας καὶ ἐκ θεοῦ.

Which is very hard to make sense out of in English.

Theodoret of Cyprus says: γεννητος εξ αγεννητυ "begotten form out of an Unbegotten", or something to that effect.

Long Recension: ὁ μόνος ἀληθινὸς θεός, ὁ ἀγέννητος καὶ ἀπρόσιτος, ὁ τῶν ὅλων κύριος, τοῦ δὲ μονογενοῦς πατὴρ καὶ γεννήτωρ

Edgar Foster said...

Hi Matt13weedhacker,

Thanks for providing the additional textual-critical material. Plenty of work has been done on the words γεννητὸς καὶ ἀγέννητος with some even doubting their genuineness although it seems fairly certain now that the expression belongs in the writings of Ignatius. As your comments also suggest, the Ignatian corpus is all over the place in terms of how it should be read.



Graeme Hibbard said...

Sorry Edgar. That was a bit hard to read. I'll remove all the commentary etc.

GREEK TEXT: “...εἷς ἰατρός ἐστιν σαρκικός καὶ πνευματικός. γεννητὸς καὶ ἀγέννητος ἐν σαρκὶ γενόμενος. θεός ἐν ἀθανάτῳ ζωὴ ἀληθινή καὶ ἐκ Μαριας καὶ ἐκ θεοῦ. πρῶτον παθητὸς καὶ τότε ἀπαθής. Μὴ οὖν τις ὑμᾶς ἐξαπατάτω. ὥσπερ οὐδὲ ἐξαπατᾶσθε ὅλοι ὄντες θεοῦ...”- (7.2, Medicean Manuscript Text)

“One physician there is, fleshly and spiritual. Begotten and un-begotten, in flesh came to be. God in immortal life [Perhaps: “In immortal life, a god”], truly [Or: “truthfully” “genuinely”] also out of Mary and out of God. First [Perhaps: “At first”] capable of suffering, and (τότε) then in-capable of suffering.”

Gk., τότε here connected with ἀπαθής and Divine "impassibility", brings into question the concept of Divine immutability, if this text (and Tri{3}nitarian hypothesis) is true.

Gk., ἀγέννητος was believed to be the sole possession of the Father several generations later, by both Alexander and Arius alike (at the beginning of the controversy). Which stacks the deck against the genuineness of it being applied to the Son. This version absolutely smells fishy.

Keefa Ben Yahchanan said...

Greetings Dr. Foster

I submit this quote:

...from God alone do we define him[Christ] genuinely to be generated. For scripture teaches that the generated and unbegun,the Father of Christ is one.... We must not consider the Son to be co-unbegun and co-ungenerated with the Father, for no one can proper be called Father or Son of one who is co-unbegun and co-ungenerated with him. But we acknowledge that the Father who alone is unbegun and ungenerated has generated inconceivably and incomprehensibly to all and that the Son has been generated before the ages and in no way to be ungenerated like the Father, but to have the Father who generated him as his beginning, for the head of Christ is God (1 Cor.11:3)-History of Neo-Arianism (Patristic Monograph Series) by Thomas A. Kopecek, pg. 92

Edgar Foster said...

Greetings Brother Keefa,

That is an interesting quote. I appreciate you sharing and just have 2 brief observations. First, can you say who uttered these words? Second, should "proper" really be "properly"?

Thank you,


Keefa Ben Yahchanan said...

Greetings Brother Edgar Foster

[you said] First, can you say who uttered these words?

[reply]See Macrostich (Ecthesis Macrostichos, 'Long-Liner' Manifesto')

[you said]Second, should "proper" really be "properly"?

Yes, this was a typo on my part (sorry)

Edgar Foster said...

Thank you, Brother Keefa. Those thoughts were helpful as with all your research. I called attention to the typo in order that it might be edited in future iterations.

Best to you, my friend.

JimSpace said...

Regarding “There is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit,” or “There is one Physician, both fleshly and spiritual,” the later seen in the Hermeneia Commentary for Ignatius,[1] the same commentary explains:

“The first component of the striking list of antitheses that follows may ultimately be rooted in a semi-credal pattern that contrasted what Jesus was “according to the flesh” with what he became “according to the spirit” (Rom 1:3-4; cf. Sm. 1.1). In Ignatius, however, flesh and spirit represent two spheres or two dimensions that refer to human and divine reality respectively. We have here the kernel of the later two-nature christologies.” Page 60.

Then it says:

“The series of antitheses in Eph. 7.2 appears to move from the historical to the exalted Christ. This is emphasized in the last antithesis by the words “first” and “then.” … Note that the expression “from Mary in Ignatius likewise emphasizes the true humanity of Jesus.” (Pages 60-1.)

A parallel is noted in his letter to Polycarp at 3:2, where “the Christological attributes of Pol. 3.2 find their closest parallel in Eph. 7.2.” (Page 267.) Polycarp 3:2 in the Hermeneia Commentary says:

Look for the him who is above time—non-temporal, invisible, for our sakes visible, intangible, impassible, for our sakes passible, one who endured in every way for our sakes.

Or, by Lightfoot and Harmer:

Wait expectantly for him who is above time: the Eternal, the Invisible, who for our sake became visible; the Intangible, the Unsuffering, who for our sake suffered, who for our sake endured in every way.

Thus, Ignatius is not saying Jesus is simultaneously flesh and spirit, but was flesh and now spirit.

[1] Schoedel, William. Ignatius of Antioch. Hermeneia Commentary, 1985.

JimSpace said...

My comment is now seen here as Appendix D.

Edgar Foster said...

Thanks, Jim. I will consult Schoedel.