Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume III/Anti-Marcion/The Prescription Against Heretics/Chapter XV

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Chapter XV.—Heretics Not to Be Allowed to Argue Out of the Scriptures. The Scriptures, in Fact, Do Not Belong to Them.[1]

We are therefore come to (the gist of) our position; for at this point we were aiming, and for this we were preparing in the preamble of our address (which we have just completed),—so that we may now join issue on the contention to which our adversaries challenge us. They put forward[2] the Scriptures, and by this insolence[3] of theirs they at once influence some.  In the encounter itself, however, they weary the strong, they catch the weak, and dismiss waverers with a doubt.  Accordingly, we oppose to them this step above all others, of not admitting them to any discussion of the Scriptures.[4]

If in these lie their resources, before they can use them, it ought to be clearly seen to whom belongs the possession of the Scriptures, that none may be admitted to the use thereof who has no title at all to the privilege.


  1. [See Marcion, B. I. Cap. xxii. infra, note.]
  2. Obtendunt.
  3. Audacia.
  4. De Scripturis. But as this preposition is often the sign of the instrument in Tertullian, this phrase may mean “out of,” or “by means of the Scriptures.” See the last chapter.