1 Corinthians 7:25-40 shows that the position on celibacy was more a recommendation.Secret Alias wrote: ↑Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:24 pmOf course it's muddled. Unlike most people at the forum I don't know what the right answer is before I start investigating. Since we share in interest in Marcionism let me turn this around. What do you imagine that 'Marcionites' were doing all day long. They weren't married, they didn't have children, didn't eat very much or very much that was interesting, didn't drink, didn't seem to do much of everything.
Let me throw out an idea. They didn't like sex. Sex is natural and results in children. Have you ever considered that homosexuality would be the biggest f-u to the Creator? Doesn't mean that I think Marcionites were gay. But just as a thought experiment. Buggery is pretty much as big a f-u as I can imagine to the 'world' - to the commandments, whatever. What do you think so far?
ἐπιταγὴν κυρίου οὐκ ἔχω γνώμην δὲ δίδωμι ὡς ἠλεημένος ὑπὸ κυρίου πιστὸς εἶναι
I had thought the passage later, from Appelleans, but still before the Catholic versions of Paul. Mostly because it does not present Paul as uncompromisingly authoritative in stark contrast to all the attested Marcionite text of Paul. I was also bothered by the term ἠλεημένος which is hapax legomen (that suggests it might be from the last layers, the Pastoral). But after doing several reconstructions I have come to the conclusion it was original.
Many sects and religious groups have preferred celibacy. Even the Crusaders and Janissaries (Turkish Muslims) practiced celibacy. It is not that unusual. Look at Catholics today. The Marcionites were not unique in this among Christian sects, both from within the Heretical and the proto-Orthodox camps (using my definition where Heretical are those who reject the properties of Law Giver, Creator and Judge for the father of Christ ... all other points the camps had great diversity; this is my clinical definition of the "camps" - to avoid confusion).
But the Marcionite position seems to have been less than absolute. Verse 7:31 ἐγὼ δὲ ὑμῶν φείδομαι is clearly a suggestion and not an order, ditto τοῦτο δὲ πρὸς τὸ ὑμῶν αὐτῶν σύμφορον λέγω, οὐχ ἵνα βρόχον ὑμῖν ἐπιβάλω in 7:35. Verse 7:36 out and out says sex/marriage with a menopausal woman (ὑπέρακμος) is fine (οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει, γαμείτωσαν) -- obviously she cannot bear children, thus prolonging the era of souls being trapped by the Demiurge in human bodies. And verse 7:38 says marriage is tolerated (ὥστε καὶ ὁ γαμίζων τὴν ἑαυτοῦ παρθένον καλῶς ποιεῖ, καὶ ὁ μὴ γαμίζων κρεῖσσον ποιήσει). Verse 7:9 is the most blunt on this allowance for Christians to marry (εἰ δὲ οὐκ ἐγκρατεύονται, γαμησάτωσαν, κρεῖττον γάρ ἐστιν γαμῆσαι ἢ πυροῦσθαι).
This makes some sense. The leaders might have been expected not to marry (hence Appelles' falling out -- if he even was a Marcionite to begin with), but the rank and file could and likely did marry. The sect never would have made it to the 5th century without procreation going on.
The picture painted of Marcionites by the church fathers as prohibiting marriage probably applied to their Bishops and Deacons but not to their assembly. For Tertullian especially clergy marrying was important. Presumably less so for say Origen -- his wife would otherwise have been very frustrated. My brother and I joked about how the tables have turned, how the Catholics advocated, even demanded married clergy (1 Timothy 3:1-5 is pretty clear on this) and the Heretics often did not, but today the Catholics demand celibacy of clerics and the Protestant almost insist upon them being married.
Note: 1 Timothy 3:1-5, 3:12 seem to be a response to the more ambiguous Titus 1:5-6 where elders are expected to be married, but in 1:7-8 the Bishop must be celibate (ἐγκρατῆ). But this is no surprise as 1 Timothy is a corrective of Titus conflating both Titus and 2 Timothy. Titus was recognized by Tatian (who advocated celibacy) but not 1 & 2 Timothy (apparently later). Different sects were responsible for each of the three pastorals. It should also be recognized that "Bishop" was interchangeable with Apostle (Acts 1:17) early on, and with Sect leader (teacher).
Put another way. The Marcionites were not dissimilar to other Christians on the issue of sex, just they had celibate clergy, at least celibate Bishops.