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Fragment number Vinzent 7
Klostermann 42
Rettb. 36
Ancient source used Eusebius, Against Marcellus 2.3
Modern edition M. Vinzent, Markell von Ankyra: Die Fragmente (Leiden, 1997).
Translator’s Notes Here, Marcellus argues for the preexistence of the Logos, but against (in a qualified way) the preexistence of Jesus Christ. The Word has existed from the beginning; at a certain point in history, the Logos took on flesh and became a man known as Jesus Christ. This human element, as well as titles such as “Jesus” or “Christ,” is not eternal.
Marcellus anticipates the counterargument of his critics and opponents: Since many Old Testament passages refer to the Logos as the Anointed One (Christ) and the Son, does that not mean that the Logos existed as Christ even before he became human? Marcellus argues that these passages do not speak about the Logos’s preexistent form, but rather about prophetic events which occur after the Logos has taken on flesh.

The Word was “in the beginning” (Jn 1:1), being nothing other than the Word. But when the man, which had no prior existence, was united with to Word, he became a man, as John teaches us, saying, “And the Word became flesh” (1:14). Therefore it is clear that he is calling to mind only the Word. For whenever the Divine Scripture mentions the name “Jesus” or “Christ,” it is clear that it designates the Word of God as he is with human flesh. But if anyone might claim to be able to show that even before the New Testament the name “Christ” or “Jesus” was applied to the Word alone, he will find that this was spoken prophetically, as is clear from the following, for it says, “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers are gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ” (Ps 2:2).

Translated by Daniel Noonan under the supervision of Prof. Glen L. Thompson, revised AMJ

Last updated: 8-29-2012

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