The great Roman orator Marcus Tullius Cicero once said that “every argument about something which is rationally undertaken should proceed from a definition so that it is understood what is being disputed.” The importance of clear definitions, however, has often been neglected by those studying early Christian conceptions of “scripture”, “tradition”, and “authority.” As this series on Early Christian Authority continues, over the next several weeks I will begin outlining the thought of (heretic) Marcion of Sinope. Before engaging Marcion, however, we must offer some tentative working definitions for these important terms. I say “tentative” and “working” because a) I expect the issue of clear definitions will be one that I return to, hopefully in greater depth, before too long and b) because my own thought on the definitions of these terms continues to be formed through the reading of secondary literature and my interactions with early Christian sources. Continue reading
This post is part of an ongoing series examining Early Christian Authority.