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Tatian on Soul & Spirit

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  • mgrondin@tir.com
    Following from Tatian s Address to the Greeks: Chapter XII.-The Two Kinds of Spirits. We recognise two varieties of spirit, one of which is called the soul
    Message 1 of 6 , May 4, 2001
      Following from Tatian's Address to the Greeks:

      Chapter XII.-The Two Kinds of Spirits.

      "We recognise two varieties of spirit, one of which is called the
      soul (psyche), but the other is greater than the soul, an image and
      likeness of God: both existed in the first men, that in one sense
      they might be material, and in another superior to matter." ...

      Chapter XIII.-Theory of the Soul's Immortality.

      "The soul is not in itself immortal, O Greeks, but mortal. Yet it is
      possible for it not to die. If, indeed, it knows not the truth, it
      dies, and is dissolved with the body, but rises again at last at the
      end of the world with the body, receiving death by punishment in
      immortality. But, again, if it acquires the knowledge of God, it dies
      not, although for a time it be dissolved. In itself it is darkness,
      and there is nothing luminous in it. And this is the meaning of the
      saying, "The darkness comprehendeth not the light." For the soul does
      not preserve the spirit, but is preserved by it, and the light
      comprehends the darkness. The Logos, in truth, is the light of God,
      but the ignorant soul is darkness. On this account, if it continues
      solitary, it tends downward towards matter, and dies with the flesh;
      but, if it enters into union with the Divine Spirit, it is no longer
      helpless, but ascends to the regions whither the Spirit guides it:
      for the dwelling-place of the spirit is above, but the origin of the
      soul is from beneath. Now, in the beginning the spirit was a constant
      companion of the soul, but the spirit forsook it because it was not
      willing to follow. Yet, retaining as it were a spark of its power,
      though unable by reason of the separation to discern the perfect,
      while seeking for God it fashioned to itself in its wandering
      many gods, following the sophistries of the demons. But the Spirit of
      God is not with all, but, taking up its abode with those who live
      justly, and intimately combining with the soul, by prophecies it
      announced hidden things to other souls. And the souls that are
      obedient to wisdom have attracted to themselves the cognate spirit;
      but the disobedient, rejecting the minister of the suffering God,
      have shown themselves to be fighters against God, rather than His
      worshippers."

      The reason I quote this (and I haven't read the whole text in detail
      yet) is that I find this to be astonishingly close to what I have
      thought might be one of the more unconventional philosophical
      premisses behind GTh, namely that if the soul doesn't "become one"
      with the spirit, it will die with the body.

      Mike
    • Michael Grondin
      I ve been asked offlist to give the URL for the Tatian text I quoted. The exact URL is longer than one line, and thus wouldn t be clickable from this note.
      Message 2 of 6 , May 5, 2001
        I've been asked offlist to give the URL for the Tatian text I quoted. The
        exact URL is longer than one line, and thus wouldn't be "clickable" from
        this note. Assuming that the following is "clickable", I suggest going to
        http://bible.crosswalk.com/History/AD/EarlyChurchFathers/Ante-Nicene and
        selecting Tatian from "Volume 2". (If the above URL comes out longer than
        one line, do a cut and paste into your browser address line rather than
        clicking on the URL.)

        Two other notes: First, on closer examination it seems that my description
        of the quoted material wasn't entirely accurate. Tatian's theory as quoted
        is somewhat more complex. As I now understand it, he says that all souls
        "dissolve" at physical death. Bad souls also(!) "die" at that point, but
        good souls don't. At the end of the world, however, all bodies and souls
        will be resurrected, at which time good souls will get their reward, and
        bad souls will "die" again thru eternal punishment (don't ask me what
        happens to the "bodies"!). So bad souls "die" twice ("death" versus "The
        Death" in GTh?), good souls never. As I said in my previous note, this view
        seems to me to be contrary to mainstream Xian doctrine, which I understand
        to hold that reward or punishment of the soul is pretty much instantaneous
        upon physical death (although that mainstream view may have been a
        consequence of the delayed parousia). But also, the emphasis on joining
        one's soul with one's (good) spirit may be seen as a gnostic doctrine.
        Although Tatian's "Address" has been preserved because judged free of
        heresy, his later (post-Justinian) encratite views may indicate that he had
        "gnosticizing" tendencies all along, and it further seems to me (from a
        cursory reading) that even the Address already contains at least hints of
        gnosticism. Could it be that Tatian "the Assyrian"s homeland was itself
        fertile ground for such views, and that this explains the development of
        his thought better than anything else?

        The second note has to do with why I was reading Tatian at all, which may
        be of some general interest. It's been suggested on this list that the
        phrase 'Son of Man' may have been missing from a hypothetical set of very
        early (and now no longer extant) versions of the gospels. In support of
        this hypothesis, it's pointed out that some (much later) gospel harmonies
        lack this phrase, and that these later gospel harmonies may trace back to
        Tatian's Diatesseron and/or Justin's Harmony (neither of which is now
        extant). It occurred to me that one might obtain indirect evidence for or
        against this hypothesis by examining the works of Justin and Tatian to see
        whether they were familiar with the term 'SoM'. If either one used it in
        their extant written works, it might indicate that they were familiar with
        it from the gospels to which they had access, and thus that the hypothesis
        is false. (If anyone wants to conduct such a survey, please do so, as I may
        not get back to it.)

        Regards,
        Mike
      • David C. Hindley
        ... against this hypothesis by examining the works of Justin and Tatian to see whether they were familiar with the term SoM .
        Message 3 of 6 , May 5, 2001
          Mike Grondin suggests:

          >>It occurred to me that one might obtain indirect evidence for or
          against this hypothesis by examining the works of Justin and Tatian to
          see whether they were familiar with the term 'SoM'.<<

          I did a quick search on an electronic copy of A-N Fathers vols 1 & 2,
          and found Ignatius (two or three times, although I did not check to
          see if it was the shorter or longer Greek version, as this electronic
          scan seems to omit one of the versions), Justin (a good half dozen
          times, maybe up to 10), and Irenaeus used it, but not Tatian (at least
          in his Address to the Greeks). Justin seemed to be associating it with
          the "son of man" in Daniel, as if it prefigured Christ.

          Regards,

          Dave Hindley
          Cleveland, Ohio, USA
        • Michael Grondin
          ... Thanks, Dave. Saved me from a lot of tedious work, being as how I was doing it the hard way. This result indicates to me that the phrase SoM was probably
          Message 4 of 6 , May 5, 2001
            Dave Hindley wrote:
            >... Justin [used 'SoM'] (a good half dozen times, maybe up to 10) ...

            Thanks, Dave. Saved me from a lot of tedious work, being as how I was doing
            it the hard way. This result indicates to me that the phrase 'SoM' was
            probably used in the versions of the gospels with which Justin was
            familiar, hence that, if added at all, it must have been added pre-Justin,
            hence pre-Harmony and pre-Diatessaron, thus casting severe doubt on the
            argument from harmonies. Do you agree? Or how would you put it?

            Regards,
            Mike
          • David C. Hindley
            ... in the versions of the gospels with which Justin was familiar, hence that, if added at all, it must have been added pre-Justin, hence pre-Harmony and
            Message 5 of 6 , May 5, 2001
              Mike said:

              >>This result indicates to me that the phrase 'SoM' was probably used
              in the versions of the gospels with which Justin was familiar, hence
              that, if added at all, it must have been added pre-Justin, hence
              pre-Harmony and pre-Diatessaron, thus casting severe doubt on the
              argument from harmonies. Do you agree? Or how would you put it?<<

              Well, the occasions were:

              1st Apology LI (citing Dan 7:13, although calling the source
              Jeremiah),

              2nd Apology XXXI (again quoting Dan 7:9-28 as referring to Christ's
              power),

              Dialogue XXXII "Trypho said, 'These and such like Scriptures, sir,
              compel us to wait for Him who, as Son of man, receives from the
              Ancient of days the everlasting kingdom',"

              Dialogue LXXVI Again refers to Dan 7 (but not quoting) and linking it
              to Luke 9:22,

              Dialogue LXXIX Again refers to Dan 7,

              Dialogue C quotes Matt 16:21, explaining that "He said then that He
              was the Son of man, either because of His birth by the Virgin, who
              was, as I said, of the family of David and Jacob, and Isaac, and
              Abraham; or because Adam was the father both of Himself and of those
              who have been first enumerated from whom Mary derives her descent,"

              Dialogue CXXVI alludes to Dan 7 among proofs that the scriptures
              foretold Christ.

              Prior to Justin, the term is used by the authors of the following
              letters (although I'd hesitate to give any credence to any but the
              first of these as genuine productions):

              Ignatius Ephesians XX (short Greek version) "Jesus Christ, who was of
              the seed of David according to the flesh, being both the Son of man
              and the Son of God,"

              Ignatius Trallians IX (long Greek version) "At the dawning of the
              Lord's day He arose from the dead, according to what was spoken by
              Himself, 'As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's
              belly, so shall the Son of man also be three days and three nights in
              the heart of the earth.' (Matt 12:40)"

              Barnabas XII "Behold again: Jesus who was manifested, both by type and
              in the flesh (alluding to 1 Tim 3:16?), is not the Son of man, but the
              Son of God."

              Regards,

              Dave Hindley
              Cleveland, Ohio, USA
            • David C. Hindley
              Oops! ... power),
              Message 6 of 6 , May 7, 2001
                Oops!

                >>2nd Apology XXXI (again quoting Dan 7:9-28 as referring to Christ's
                power),<<

                Apparently I made an error...

                That should have been Dialogue XXXI. I must have lost my place in the
                document.

                Regards,

                Dave Hindley
                Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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