Joseph B. Tyson, "Acts and the Apostles: Issues of Leadership in the Second Century," 385-98
This article focuses attention on the meaning of apostleship in the Pauline letters and the Acts of the Apostles. In his letters Paul insists that he is an apostle, and he cites his witness of Jesus’s resurrection to confirm it. He acknowledges an unspecified number of other apostles, who have great authority. He also knows, however, of competing criteria for apostleship and, hence, rival groups of apostles. The author of Acts introduces two non-Pauline requirements: that the apostles must be twelve in number and that all apostles must have been associates of the historical Jesus. Writing in the early second century, the author of Acts recognized that the Pauline understanding of apostleship could no longer be maintained. The definition that Acts introduced provided a structure for Christian leadership, but the paradox remains that the apostleship of a primary character in the book was excluded by that very definition.
Nicholas J. Zola, "Evangelizing Tatian: The Diatessaron’s Place in the Emergence of the Fourfold Gospel Canon," 399-414
This essay explores the relationship between Tatian’s Diatessaron and the fourfold gospel canon. The core question is whether Tatian’s aim was to supplement the four Gospels or to supplant them. Some read Tatian as a harmonist, subservient to his sources. Francis Watson and others would read Tatian as an evangelist, who uses the same techniques as Luke or Matthew to rework his sources into a full-fledged gospel. I probe the initial merits of this argument by looking at the evidence of the time (how the state of the fourfold gospel canon may have influenced Tatian’s motivations) and the evidence of the text (what the surviving witnesses of the Diatessaron reveal of Tatian’s redactional hand). Identifying the Diatessaron’s genre is crucial for establishing whether its reconstruction can give us unadulterated access to second-century texts of the Gospels. I end by offering directions for future research on this essential question.
Denis Farkasfalvy, " Irenaeus’s First Reference to the Four Gospels and the Formation of the Fourfold Gospel Canon," 415-427
This article intends to show that Christianity’s four-gospel canon in its closed form owes its origin to a historic agreement between Polycarp of Smyrna and Pope Anicetus in Rome. After describing the Marcionite and Valentinian crisis reaching Rome, I line up evidences for a possibly contemporaneous presence of Marcion, Valentinus, Anicetus, and Justin Martyr, and even Tatian and Irenaeus as Polycarp arrives from Smyrna in 154. Examining four consecutive sentences on the canonical gospels in Irenaeus’s Adversus haereses 3.1.1, I show that these come from a Roman source verbatim preserved. Then I infer that they record the outcome of the meeting between Polycarp and Anicetus, failing to resolve the Quartodeciman problem but resulting in both leaders embracing their respective apostolic traditions about the gospels and their written records in contradiction to Marcion’s single-gospel proposal, Valentinus’s unlimited approval of many gospels, as well as the tendencies in Justin Martyr leading to Tatian’s Diatessaron, a single-gospel combined from the oldest extant gospels.
D. Jeffrey Bingham, "A Reading of Irenaeus in Response to Father Denis Farkasfalvy," 429-436
Father Denis Farkasfalvy’s claim that a portion of Haer. 3.1.1 derives from a non-Irenaean, Roman Christian source is based upon what he views as contextual discontinuity of the passage. This article responds to that claim by offering an alternative reading of the text, which ultimately does not require a non-Irenaean source. After briefly reviewing the history of the application of source criticism to Adversus haereses, the alternative reading is presented, which demonstrates that the purpose of the text is to validate the authority of the apostolic proclamation of the gospel, both in oral and written form. This alternative reading not only addresses the concerns raised by Farkasfalvy but also demonstrates how the passage fits within the logical continuity of the argument to which it contributes.
David E. Wilhite, "Marcionites in Africa: What Did Tertullian Know and When Did He Invent It?," 437-452
Tertullian wrote several treatises attacking Marcion, which has led many to assume that Marcionites resided in Tertullian’s Africa. Against this assumption, one finds other sources from Africa claiming that Marcionism cannot be found there, and upon a closer inspection of Tertullian’s works it is clear that he relies on literary sources for Marcion’s teachings, not first hand interactions with Marcionites. The many statements in Tertullian’s works that relay Marcion’s teachings turn out to be rhetorical devices. In particular, Tertullian accommodated the specific practices taught by Cicero and Quintillian wherein the rhetorician must “invent” the facts about one’s opponent. This is especially done with the device known as prosopopoiea, or speech in character, whereby the opponent’s side of the diatribe is invented. When Tertullian is read as inventing Marcionism in Africa, his works can be seen as attacking other (quasi-) “Marcionite” heresies, such as Valentinianism, which do seem to be a threat to Tertullian’s Carthaginian Christian community.
Edward McMahon, "The Contribution of the Second Century Seminar to the Study of the New Testament and Early Christianity," 453-459
Since its establishment by Outler and Farmer in 1968, the Second Century Seminar has served as a place in the Southwest for a discussion of the origins and development of Christianity in the late New Testament and apostolic periods. After describing its origins, the article describes the way the Seminar works with circulating institutional hosting, including dinner and local leadership from the schools and seminaries in a seminar format that values both solid presentations and responses and vigorous discussion among attending faculty and students. While noting significant attitudinal changes in the broader confessional and academic milieu (SBL) since 1968, the Seminar is shown to have been a catalyst for ecumenical publications and joint projects crossing confessional lines and old scholarly divisions. The International Bible Commentary (1986) was both a “Catholic and Ecumenical Commentary.” Joint projects have investigated the Gospels and their sources (Griesbach Hypothesis; the Gospel of Matthew) and more-broadly anti-Judaism and the Gospels. The Second Century Journal (ed. Ferguson, 1981–1992) promoted further the Seminar’s now third-generation study of second-century texts and contexts for the academy and churches.