By Emily J. Hunt
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Extra info for Christianity in 2nd century
First, Theodotus speaks of men, not angels or demons, being made in his Paradise; second, it is not at all clear that Tatian is referring to Paradise in the same sense as Theodotus; and ﬁnally, if Tatian is referring to Paradise, he would have a Biblical basis for this in Genesis and Jewish Christian exegesis of Genesis. There is no need to extrapolate the concept of Paradise in Tatian, nor to see anything more than common Biblical background and coincidence in Tatian’s ‘better earth’ and Theodotus’ ‘fourth heaven’.
Tatian’s Scriptures are the ‘barbarian writings’ of the Jews, but we can be reasonably sure that he read them in a Christianizing way, much as his master Justin did. Tatian also appeals to those Christian writings, and especially to Paul, which, although they still did not possess canonical status, were increasing in authority. The main issue with which this book is concerned, however, is the question of where Tatian should be placed within the various streams of second century Christianity. As we have seen, Christianity during the second century was very ﬂexible and ﬂuid, and the notion of ‘heresy’, although developing, was still not set, whilst the notion of ‘orthodoxy’ did not yet really exist; Christianity, with its many facets, was still attempting to deﬁne itself.
In evaluating the heresiologists’ picture of Tatian, we must remember that they were heavily biased; they wanted to paint him in the worst possible colours. In Epiphanius it becomes particularly difﬁcult to differentiate between historical fact and heresiological ﬁction. 10 So, the heresiologists had an agenda to prove that Tatian’s heresy also descended from this common origin. Inevitably, then, the reliability of the heresiologists must be called into question, and their accounts of Tatian’s heresy should be proved rather than assumed when considering Tatian’s extant works.
Christianity in 2nd century by Emily J. Hunt