Cyprian's primacy quote

First, if a moderator considers moving this thread to a different section that’s fine. I really didn’t know where to put it.

There has been endless controversy I have noticed on the following quote by Cyprian:

“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.’ . . . On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was *, but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?” (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).

Some state that this quote given by CAF is misleading, and that it actually goes this way:

“The Lord speaks to Peter: ‘I say to thee,’ He says, ‘thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven.’ Upon him [Peter], being one, He builds His Church, and although after His resurrection He bestows equal power upon all the Apostles, and says: ‘As the Father has sent me, I also send you. Receive ye the Holy Spirit: if you forgive the sins of anyone, they will be forgiven him; if you retain the sins of anyone, they will be retained,’ yet that He might display unity, He established by His authority the origin of the same unity as beginning from one. Surely the rest of the Apostles also were that which Peter was, endowed with an equal partnership of office and of power, but the beginning proceeds from unity, that the Church of Christ may be shown to be one. This one Church, also, the Holy Spirit in the Canticle of Canticles designates in the person of the Lord and says: ‘One is my dove, my perfect one is but one, she is the only one of her mother, the chosen one of her that bore her.’ Does he who does not hold this unity think that he holds the faith? Does he who strives against the Church and resists her think that he is in the Church, when too the blessed Apostle Paul teaches this same thing and sets forth the sacrament of unity saying: ‘One body and one Spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God’?”

In substance both quotes when compared are different. The truth is chapter 4 has 2 rival versions here (which by the way have been mixed in various ways) because Cyprian himself revised one of his texts (it is debated which one he actually revised) thus having two versions. Therefore It is said that one was sent to Cornelius (current Bishop of Rome) and the other to Novatian (anti-pope rival of Cornelius at that time). Even though no names are mentioned in it, scholars seem to suggest that. The First edition is called the “Primacy text” because it contains the word “Primatus”. That is normally been said to be the original one.

If you go to the following links you will notice how different these versions really are.
romancatholicism.org/jansenism/cyprian-church.htm
orthodoxmetropolisportland.org/ecc_cyprian_unity_of_the_catholic_church.html
ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf05.pdf

You will find that all 3 in substance are quite different. I have been in numerous sites where the quote changes quite a bit too.

continues…*

The book “Faith of the Early Fathers”, by W. A. Jurgens , page 220 and 221 has both quotes as follows:
books.google.com.mx/books/about/Faith_of_the_Early_Fathers.html?id=l62q-d4Wi20C&redir_esc=y

“The Lord speaks to Peter, saying, “I say unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” and again He says to him after His resurrection: “Feed my sheep (2).” On him he builds his Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep; and although He assigns a like power to all the Apostles, yet He founded a single chair, and He established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was; but a primacy was given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?”
(Cyprian’s First Edition).

"The Lord speaks to Peter, saying, “I say unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. It is on one man that He builds the Church; and although He assigns a like power to all the Apostles after His resurrection, when He says, “As the Father has sent me, so also do I send you; receive the Holy Spirit: if any man his sins, they shall be forgiven; and if you retain any man’s sins the shall be retained. (3),” nevertheless, in order that unity, which takes its beginning from one man alone. Indeed, the other Apostles were that also which Peter was, being endowed with an equal portion of dignity and power; but the origin is grounded in unity, so that it may be clear that there is but one Church of Christ. Indeed, this oneness of the Church is indicated in the Song of Songs, when the Holy Spirit, speaking in the Lord’s name, says: “One is my dove, my perfect one, to her mother that the only one, the chosen of her that bore her(4)” If someone does not hold fast to this unity of the Church, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he resists and withstands the Church, can he still be confident that he is in the Church, when the blessed Apostle Paul teaches this very thing and displays the sacred sign of the unity when he says: “One body and one Spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord one faith, one baptism, one God (5)?”
(Cyprian’s Second Edition).

As you can see this author (and many others) recognize 2 versions of Cyprians “Unity of the Catholic Church” having also other epistles present in his book. Some sites just mix both versions together and come up with one. Maurice Bevenot (scholar and theologian) in the book he translated “The Lapsed / The Unity of the Catholic Church (Ancient Christian Writers, No. 25)” has the first edition text also.
amazon.com/Lapsed-Catholic-Ancient-Christian-Writers/dp/0809102609#reader_0809102609

So as you can see CAF’s quote is accurate knowing this site even lets you know that it is the “1st Edition”.

This is a good summary of the versions of these quotations, which need to be taken into consideration when quoting it. Thank you for posting this! My question would be how does one know which of these was the first edition, and which the second? Would one of these be given priority in quotations over the other? I would suggest that both need to be understood in light of each other, and the existence of two versions always mentioned when quoting.

Well look ive been in so many different sites that claim one thing or the other (Catholic/Protestant/Orthodox alike) in regards to which was the original.

At this point its really up to oneself to decide which scholar(s) to believe. I mean I cant say “Hey I have the originals in my house”, so its quite hard to know who’s telling the truth at times. However, I really have no problem at all accepting the second edition, to me (as a Catholic) I see in this one too the primacy of Saint Peter.

I Must mention that the First edition is indeed highly backed up by many Catholic/Protestant scholars alike really. Some to the point that they even include them in their books (see the above links as examples). In fact I haven’t really read of a scholar that rejects the first edition directly (there may be but just saying I havent read any yet), some just simply omit it and that’s it. But not reject it as to say “Cyprian didnt say this or that”.

As to your question: how does one know which of these was the first edition, and which the second?

In truth I really don’t know how scholars determined which was which (I haven’t found solid information about it really). Though im sure there had to be a way to distinguish them so maybe they simply named one the first edition and the other the second. Maurice Bevenot for example, (whom I dont know what kind of christian he is, but whos comments are quite anti-catholic in his introduction) even has the first edition in his book: “The Lapsed / The Unity of the Catholic Church (Ancient Christian Writers, No. 25)” and in his opinion the original one (the first edition) is exactly the same one CAF has here.

The only thing I wanted to clear out is, that CAF didn’t add anything to Cyprian’s quotes, CAF is just citing his first edition and that’s it. Its all I wanted to point out.

As to your question: Would one of these be given priority in quotations over the other?
Well im going to give you my honest opinion here. I dont think one has to be given the priority over the other. Cyprian made 2 versions, so imo they should be treated as different letters (even though they are similar 99%, that 1% of difference makes it another letter). First edition when compared to the Second should be treated as letter 55 compared to 56. They are different letters in substance. I think both letters are accurate, and both from Cyprian. He simply send it to different people.

I must say that I agree that websites when quoting him should indeed have both versions because if not, they create confusion in a way. Though CAF has always had the “first edition” words below Cyprian’s quotation suggesting or indicating that there may be a second one in existence. Other sites though, (specially those that are anti-catholic) do not mention any existence of the first edition and simply quote the second one creating confusion in regards to what Cyprian really said.

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