Whence the Words of Ephesians 5:14? Part 1

Interested in the Protestant Scholastics?  Systematic Theology I

As so I proceed to the second Question set forth in § 1, Whence were the words borrowed that occur in this verse? Ἔχομεν βεβαιότερον τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον, ᾧ καλῶς ποιεῖτε προσέχοντες, ὡς λύχνῳ φαίνοντι ἐν αὐχμηρῷ τόπῳ, ἕως οὗ ἡμέρα διαυγάσῃ, καὶ φωσφόρος ἀνατείλῃ ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν, We have a more sure prophetic words; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts, says Peter, 2 Peter 1:19, being about to confirm the Apostolic preaching from the writings of the Prophets; see my Commentarium on that passage.  Similarly in our text Paul teaches according to the manner customary to the Apostles.  For I think that it is sufficiently evident from those things that we have discussed above that by that διὸ λέγει, wherefore he saith, at the beginning of the verse we are sent off to the Scripture of the Old Testament.  Hence the opinions just now mentioned of those that maintain that these words are either of the man filled with light, or of the Spirit speaking in the regenerate man, or of the Lord now speaking through Paul, or of the preachers of the Gospel under the New Testament, all thus redoubling repeatedly, come together of themselves.  Hence likewise are to be rejected the opinions, surveyed and dexterously confuted by WOLF, of those that maintain that the Apostle has alluded to the blowing of the trumpet, which at the beginning of the new year, as they say, was formerly wont to be sounded publicly among the Jews, and especially to the words customarily added by the herald; or of those that hold the three declarations of the Apostle occurring in this verse as three verse of a Song that had customarily been sung piously in the Churches at that time; or of those that say that the word of Christ is here related, with which in the general resurrection He is going to address each and every dead man, by saying, Ἔγειραι ὁ καθεύδων καὶ ἀνάστα ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, to which formula Paul added of himself, καὶ ἐπιφαύσει σοι ὁ Χριστός, and Christ shall give thee light.  Indeed, if our assertion should stand, of which we have little doubt, that διὸ λέγει, wherefore he saith, is to be held as a formula for alleging the Sacred Codex of the Old Testament, fail also do those things that are now read in the books of the Ancients concerning the words of this verse drawn by the Apostle out of some Apocryphal writing, a monument of a bygone age, since they were not finding these things to occur with sufficient clarity in the Canonical Books of the Old Testament.  Or now they make them the words of a Prophet or of some Apocryphal writing of the same in general, with JEROME on this passage, who, responding to the question, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead. One may ask, who then is he that says:  Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead:  or of whose testimony does the Apostle make use? then subjoins some other things, namely: But another, as the Apostle would figure a προσωποποιῒαν, taking on of the character, of the Holy Spirit, will relate these sayings for an exhortation to repentance. I, according to my own humble ability diligently sifting all the edition of the ancient scriptures, and the very scrolls of the Hebrews, certainly never found this written.  Unless perhaps we might say this also:  just as formerly the Prophets were speaking in the assembly of the people, thus saith the Lord, and because the Lord hath spoken: so also the Apostle being full of the Holy Spirit, in words that Christ was speaking in him, suddenly erupted and spoke, thus saith the Lord:  but in the first place he responds:  And indeed he that is content with a simple response will say that he has brought forth these readings in hidden Prophets and these which are called Apocryphal: just as it is manifest that he has done in other places also:  not that he would approve the Apocrypha, but so that he might make use of the verses of Aratus,[1] Epimenides,[2] and Menander[3] to confirm those things that he had just set forth. Yet not all things that Aratus, Epimenides, and Menander wrote are holy, simply because he testified that they said something truly.  Indeed, FABRICIUS, in his Codice pseudepigrapho Veteris Testamenti, chapter CCXVII, pages 1105, 1106, also cites Hippolytus, as if he had also related that the argument of our text was drawn by Paul from the apocryphal writing of some Prophet:  yet the words of the Blessed Martyr do not clearly display that, which words are able to be explained of the Canonical writing of some Prophet, as well as of an Apocryphal writing.  Now, the words of our text are found in HIPPOLYTUS’ libro de Antichristo, chapter LXV, and are less dexterously explained by the same of the last Resurrection:  Περὶ μὲν οὖν τῆς ἀναστάσεως καὶ τῆς βασιλείας τῶν ἁγίων, λέγει Δανιήλ· καὶ πολλοὶ τῶν καθευδόντων ἐν γῆς χώματι ἀναστήσονται· οὗτοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον—Ἡσαΐας λέγει· ἀναστήσονται οἱ νεκροὶ, καὶ ἐγερθήσονται οἱ ἐν τοῖς μνημείοις, ὅτι ἡ δρόσος ἡ παρά σου ἴαμα αὐτοῖς ἐστιν. Ὁ Κύριος λέγει·  πολλοὶ ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἀκούσονται τῆς φωνῆς τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ οἱ ἀκούσαντες ζήσονται. Ὁ δὲ προφήτης λέγει· ἔγειραι ὁ καθεύδων, καὶ ἐξεγέρθητι ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, καὶ ἐπιφαύσει σοι ὁ Χριστός, Moreover, concerning the resurrection and the kingdom of the saints, Daniel says, And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall arise, some to everlasting life…. Isaiah says, The dead men shall arise, and they that are in their tombs shall awake; for the dew from you is healing to them.  The Lord says, Many in that day shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.  And the prophet says, Awake, you that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light:  on which words COMBEFIS, after some other things, ingeniously noted, “Hippolytus also thought that this prophetic saying was seized upon by Paul; whether from the Apocryphal Book just now referenced, or that he thus brought together those things of the genuine Isaiah, Isaiah 60, Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem, etc., and made use of them for the true light, Christ, as the Holy Doctor not improbably perceived.”  Or in particular they appeal to the Apocalypse of Elijah or some other Apocryphal work of this Prophet with EPIPHANIUS, adversus Hæreses, book I, tome 3, heresy XLII, opera, tome I, page 372, where after citing our text he adds:  Πόθεν τῷ Ἀποστόλῳ τὸ, διὸ καὶ λέγει, ἀλλὰ ἀπὸ τῆς παλαιᾶς δῆλον διαθήκης; τοῦτο δὲ ἐμφέρεται παρὰ τῷ Ἠλίᾳ. πόθεν δὲ ὁρμᾶτο ὁ Ἠλίας; ἀλλὰ εἷς ἦν τῶν Προφητῶν, etc., Whence then did the Apostle fetch those words, where he saith? Certainly from no other place than the Old Testament.  For these things are found in the work of Elijah.  But from which company did Elijah emerge?  Is he not one of the Prophets? etc.  From which in passing it is evident that GROTIUS wrote erroneously on Ephesians 5:14, and COMBEFIS on the passage of Hippolytius just cited, because EPIPHANIUS is to be numbered among those that think that the words of which we treat were taken by Paul from the Apocryphal writings of Jeremiah:  whence this παρόραμα/oversight arose, FABRICIUS points out in his Codice apocrypho Novi Testamenti, tome 2, page 524, in the notes.  GEORGE SYNCELLUS is able to have believed that these things are more truly said to have been taken from the apocryphal writings of Jeremiah; these are SYNCELLUS’ words, page 27, Πλὴν καὶ ὁ μακάριος Παῦλος σπανίως ἐχρήσατό τισιν ἐξ Ἀποκρύφων χρήσεσιν. ὡς ὅταν φησὶν ἐν τῇ πρὸς Κορινθίους πρώτῃ ἐπιστολῇ, Ἃ ὁ ὀφθαλμὸς οὐκ εἶδε, καὶ οὖς οὐκ ἤκουσε, καὶ ἐπὶ καρδίαν ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἀνέβη. καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς, ἐκ τῶν Ἠλία ἀποκρύφων. καὶ πάλιν ἐν τῇ πρὸς Γαλάτας, ἐκ τῆς Μωσέως Ἀποκαλύψεως, Οὔτε περιτομὴ τί ἐστιν, οὔτε ἀκροβυστία, ἀλλὰ καινὴ κτίσις. καὶ ἐν τῇ πρὸς Ἐφεσίους, ἐκ τῶν Ιἐρεμίου λεγομένων Ἀποκρύφων, ἔγειραι ὁ καθεύδων, καὶ ἀνάστα ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, καὶ ἐπιφαύσει σοι ὁ Χριστός, Save that the bless Paul sometimes, although rarely, consulted some passages out of Apocryphal Books: as when he says in the first epistle to the Corinthians, What things eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man.  And those things you will find out of the apocryphal works of Elijah.  And again in the epistle to the Galatians out of the Apocalypse of Moses, Neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.  And in the epistle to the Ephesians, from the Apocryphal sayings of Jeremiah, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.  But both these, and a great many other, Apocryphal writings, that among the Ancients go by the name of one or another Prophet, are destitute of all solid foundation; and they enjoy no greater authority than what is excessively bestowed upon them by credulous men; forged by idle minds in not-so-pious fraud, so that either they might seek patronage for their errors from the name of some lauded man, or have a hiding-place for their ignorance, in which they were thinking some words to be cited in the New Testament, that were not so readily meeting them in the writings of the Old Testament; just as Syncellus was just now alleging those things to have been taken from the Apocryphal Books of Elijah, which the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 2:9 most certainly repeated out of Isaiah 64:4.  Which JEROME himself in the passage of Isaiah cited acknowledges, and therefore in that same place he gravely inveighs against the patrons of those Apocryphal works: The paraphrase of this testimony, says he, the Apostle Paul, as a Hebrew of the Hebrews, takes from the authentic books in the Epistle that he writes to the Corinthians: not rendering it word for word, which he altogether disdains to do:  but expressing the truth of the sense, of which use is made for that which he wishes to be confirmed.  Whence let the delusions of the Apocryphal Books keep silent, which upon occasion of this testimony are carried into the Churches of Christ.  Of which it is able truly to be said that the devil lies in wait with the rich in hidden/apocryphal places, so that he might slay the innocent, Psalm 10:8. And again in verse 9, He lies in ambush in an hidden/apocryphal place, as a lion in his den: he lies in ambush so that he might catch the poor.  For the Ascension of Isaiah and the Apocalypse of Elijah have this testimony.  And by this occasion, and many difficulties of this sort, the foolish women of Lusitania[4] have been deceived, heavy laden with sins, who are led by various lusts, always learning, and never arriving at a knowledge of the truth:[5]  so that they might accept the portents of Basilides, Balsamus and Thesaurus, Barbelo and Leusibora,[6] and the rest of the names, etc.  And doubtlessly in the case of Ephesians 5:14 they would have held Jerome no more favorable to Apocryphal writings, unless we had heard him concede that he, diligently perusing all the editions of the ancient Scriptures, and the very scrolls of the Hebrews, had never and nowhere found this written.  Concerning all the Apocryphal writings of this sort FABRICIUS, in his Præfatione Codicis pseudepigraphi Veteris Testamenti, rightly wrote, being about to render an account of his plan in publishing the same:  “I am not led by fables of this sort, or rather I prove them frauds; but I think that nothing more fitting is able to be do to reject and explode them than that they might be exhibited thus side-by-side for inspection and be exposed to the contempt of all.”  So then it is not at all strange that those that formerly thought the words of our text to be borrowed from the Apocrypha generally have found no follower among the more recent Writers.  But it is fitting that this be the less marveled at, as Interpreters have indicated with greater certainty the words cited by the Apostle in the Canonical Codex of the Old Testament.

[1] Aratus (c. 315-240 BC) was a Greek didactic poet.  He is cited by Paul in Acts 17:28.

[2] Epimenides (circa seventh century BC) was a Greek Seer, Philosopher, and Poet.  He is cited by Paul in Titus 1:12.

[3] Menander (c. 342-c. 290 BC) was a Greek Comedic Playwright.  He is cited by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:33.

[4] Lusitania was a region of the Iberian Peninsula.

[5] See 2 Timothy 3:6, 7.

[6] With the exception of Thesaurus, which appears to be a title of a work by Mani, explaining Gnostic cosmology, these appear to be names for divine emanations in Basilidian and Priscillian Gnosticism.

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