Tertullians Gegnerin aus De baptismo 1 und Die Paraphrase des Sêem (NHC VII,1)

In: Vigiliae Christianae
Author: Herbert Schmid1
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  • 1 Apl. Professor, Alte Kirchengeschichte und Patrologie, Katholisch-Theologische Fakultät, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München9183, München, Germany
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Right at the beginning of his “On Baptism”, Tertullian points out that he has composed this writing against a teacher “of the Cainite heresy”. Although “Caina” does not appear in the manuscripts, it is made plausible by the state of the textual transmission, especially by Jerome’s reception of Tertullian (Ep. 69.1.2). It may have been Irenaeus’ polemics (haer. 1.31) that first made Cain the protagonist of radical criticism against the God of the Book of Genesis, whence later heresiologists deduced the existence of “Cainites”. The “Paraphrase of Seem” (NHC VII 1) could belong to a tradition which the heresiologists would have labelled “cainite”. This text contains an exegesis of Gen 1 which leads to fundamental criticism of baptism with water. Now Tertullian draws his arguments in support of water baptism right from Gen 1, and his arguments, quite remarkably, make good sense as a reply to NHC VII 1.

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