A treatise On the Trinity, once ascribed to Priscillian of Avila, but now more commonly held to be the work of a disciple, quotes the aphorism “the name of the Father is the Son” as an apostolic saying. In fact it appears to be a quotation of the Gospel of Truth, affinities to which are also visible in the teaching of this treatise on the procession of the Word from the Father, the role of the Holy Spirit in this procession, the universal bondage of the human race in oblivion, the revelation of the Father’s face to the elect, and the common brotherhood of the elect with Christ. After noting a further affinity between the Gospel of Truth and another Priscillianist writing, the article concludes with some reflections on the use of apocryphal literature in the fourth century by authors whose theology was in most respects orthodox.
On the title see B. Standaert“ ‘Evangelium Veritatis’ et ‘veritatis evangelium’: La question du titre et les témoins patristiques”Vigiliae Christianae30 (1976) 138-150. For criticism of the prevailing opinion see C. Markschies Valentinus Gnosticus. Untersuchungen zur valentinianischen Gnosis mit einem Kommentar zu den Fragmenten Valentins (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 1992) 339-356.
IgnatiusMagnesians8.2. J.B. Lightfoot Ignatius and Polycarp vol. 2 (London: Macmillan 1890) argues that the reading “from silence” rather than the ms “not from silence” should be upheld because it has better external support and is more harmonious with the doctrine of other letters in the corpus. See also W.R. Schoedel A Commentary on the Letters of Ignatius of Antioch (Minneapolis: Fortress Press 1985) 120-122. T.D. Barnes “The Date of Ignatius” Expository Times (2010) 105-118 employs familiar arguments in favour of “not from silence” but does not address the equally familiar counter-arguments.
Conti (2010) 214punctuates as follows: spiritus sancti ore prolatum est verbum opus sequitur; but it seems to me that prolatum requires a subject.
Conti (2010) 215has “it performs the duty of both the mouth and the voice”; but impletur is passive.
Conti (2010) 236. Cf. John 14.8.
Conti (2010) 244. Conti’s translation “fear our oblivion” is intended I believe to convey this sense although his use of the English noun is unidiomatic and he omits to translate the possessive pronoun.
Conti (2010) 212translates: “In addition it is necessary that the argument of the one who sees should be evident in the Son; the apostle says that Our God and saviour knew with God that ‘he was the firstborn among many brothers’ and as a prophet showing in himself the person of the Lord” etc. But (a) he is taking argumentum as the object of opus despite the fact that opus (in the sense of “need”) takes the more correct ablative in the previous sentence; (b) he has translated apostolo as if it were a nominative; (c) a full stop is necessary after dicit since otherwise the following clause (built round the verb appellat) will be anacolouthic.
AthanasiusAgainst the Arians2.62; Macarius of Egypt Homily 16.8; John Chrysostom Homilies on John 46.3.
Cyril of JerusalemCatechetical Homilies6.36; Cyril of Alexandria Commentary on John 5.4 in Patrologia Graeca 73 651a. Both juxtapose this adage with 1Thessalonians 5.21 and Cyril of Alexandria ascribes it to Paul himself. Perhaps the Priscillianist has been misled by a subconscious recollection of Philippians 2.9.
A.S. Jacobs“The Disorder of Books: Priscillian’s Canonical Defense of Apocrypha”Harvard Theological Review93 (2000) 135-159adduces this text as evidence that the canon was not so rigid in the fourth century as is commonly supposed. See also V. Burrus “Canonical References to Extra-Canonical ‘Texts’: Priscillian’s Defense of the Apocrypha” in D.J. Lull (ed.) Society of Biblical Literature Seminar Papers (Atlanta: sbl 1990) 60-67.