Evidence that Marcion existed

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Ulan
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Re: Evidence that Marcion existed

Post by Ulan » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:54 am

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:30 am
Ulan wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:32 pm
I think we already had a longer thread about this here some time ago. The point that also the province of Asia is mentioned, another known Marcionite stronghold, may indicate an attempt to dissociate the apostle Paul from Marcionites, who seemed to have claimed that apostle for themselves.
Is there any ancient source that

- what Luke called Asia was a stronghold of Marcion
- and also Bithynia
- and that there was a small proto-catholic corridor in between (the "eye of the needle"?)
I think you are overthinking this. Neil gave an explanation for the peculiar "Troas" episode. Your peculiar formulation "what Luke called Asia" makes me think that you know that the Troas was part of the Roman province of Asia. There is no "corridor" between Asia and Bithynia. Paul is excluded from "speaking the word" in all of western and northern Asia Minor here.

Regarding "Asia", I was thinking of a warning to all Christian visitors to one big city in Asia, which church to go to, as pretty much every second one was Marcionite. I cannot find the reference at the moment though, so sorry for that.
Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:30 am
So far I know the usual claims were that the Marcionites were „many of every nation“ (Justin, 1 Apol 26).
Yes, even the Catholic Encyclopedia agrees that the Marcionite church was basically the first organized Christian church. They were certainly widespread, but from the martyr lists etc. (the church fathers included Marcionite martyrs in their lists), it's clear that it was far more important in the East.
Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:45 am
With reaching Europe Paul's mission made one of the most important steps in this direction.
Important for whom? For Luke's Roman readers I guess?
Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:45 am
What I do not get is the whole idea of the assumed Marcionite allusion. imho there would be exact the opposite, a strong anti-Marcionite preaching by Paul in Pontus, the exorcising of legions of demons und the healing of hundreds of blinds.

So, what should the message be? That church leaders should run away from heretic provinces? So far I know they did not avoid the confrontation.
I think you got this backwards. Why doesn't Justin mention his name when he cites "the apostle"? That's Marcionite usage, if we believe later church fathers. Doesn't he "run away" from the "apostle" issue? Tertullian still calls Paul "the apostle of the heretics". You get the general feeling that, for much of the 2nd and early 3rd century, Paul was seen as basically Marcionite apostle. In order to rehabilitate Paul, it was first necessary to dissociate Paul from his followers, showing that Paul, their "apostle" (they had no other), never preached in those regions where they predominantly flourished. Two seemingly throwaway lines is all it takes in this case. The goal is white-washing Paul.

This, by the way, is one of the reasons why I don't think Acts is a wholly late text.

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Secret Alias
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Re: Evidence that Marcion existed

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:38 am

And just to make clear Ulan for the sake of edification the specific title "THE Apostle" or THE Spokesman is Samaritan. It is a title of Moses drawn from repeater references to Moses being sent by God to speak for him.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

Kunigunde Kreuzerin
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Re: Evidence that Marcion existed

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:55 am

neilgodfrey wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:03 pm
Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:30 am
Ulan wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:32 pm
I think we already had a longer thread about this here some time ago. The point that also the province of Asia is mentioned, another known Marcionite stronghold, may indicate an attempt to dissociate the apostle Paul from Marcionites, who seemed to have claimed that apostle for themselves.
Is there any ancient source that

- what Luke called Asia was a stronghold of Marcion
- and also Bithynia
From R. Joseph Hoffmann's Marcion: On the Restitution of Christianity
According to the most ancient authorities,/2/ Marcion was a native of Pontus in Asia Minor, a region which Tertullian describes as barbarous and inhospitable:

All is torpid here, everything stark. Savagery is there the only thing warm -- such savagery as has provided the theater with tales of Tauric sacrifices, Colchian love affairs, and Caucasian cruficixions. Even so, the most barbarous and melancholy thing about Pontus is that Marcion was born there, more uncouth than a Scythian, more unsettled than a Wagon-dweller, more uncivilized than a Massagete, with more effrontery than an Amazon, darker than fog, colder than winter, more brittle than ice, more treacherous than the Danube, and more precipitous than Caucasus ./3/

For Tertullian, the barbarism of Marcion's unholy birthplace is matched only by the ravings of 'the Pontic mouse who has nibbled away the Gospels', 'abolished marriage', and 'torn God almight to bits with [his] blasphemies'.

Hoffmann's footnote of the "ancient authorities".....

/2/ Justin, I Apo1. 26; Tert., AM 1. 1; Ps.-Tert., Omn. haer. 6 ('Ponticus genere'); Epiphanius, Panar. 42 .I • Epiphanius adds the information that Marcion lived at Sinope
These sources mention Pontus, but not Bithynia and the province Asia (what is not Asia minor). It seems that Tertullian explicitly meant the region of Pontus and not the Roman province Bithynia and Pontus, because he first wrote about the Black Sea (Pontus Euxinus).

„The sea called Euxine (Pontus, qui dicitur Euxinus), or hospitable, is belied by its nature and put to ridicule by its name. Even its situation would prevent you from reckoning Pontus hospitable: as though ashamed of its own barbarism it has set itself at a distance from our more civilized waters. Strange tribes inhabit it—if indeed living in a wagon can be called inhabiting. These have no certain dwelling-place: their life is uncouth ...“
...
"Even so, the most barbarous and melancholy thing about Pontus is that Marcion was born there ..."


Kunigunde Kreuzerin
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Re: Evidence that Marcion existed

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:18 pm

Ulan wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:54 am
Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:30 am
Ulan wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:32 pm
I think we already had a longer thread about this here some time ago. The point that also the province of Asia is mentioned, another known Marcionite stronghold, may indicate an attempt to dissociate the apostle Paul from Marcionites, who seemed to have claimed that apostle for themselves.
Is there any ancient source that

- what Luke called Asia was a stronghold of Marcion
- and also Bithynia
- and that there was a small proto-catholic corridor in between (the "eye of the needle"?)
I think you are overthinking this. Neil gave an explanation for the peculiar "Troas" episode. Your peculiar formulation "what Luke called Asia" makes me think that you know that the Troas was part of the Roman province of Asia. There is no "corridor" between Asia and Bithynia. Paul is excluded from "speaking the word" in all of western and northern Asia Minor here.
Because of your wording I assumed that you was thinking of two Marcionite „strongholds“ left and right on Paul's way. And is there not a problem because (according to Acts) Paul preached later in Ephesus?
Ulan wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:54 am
Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:30 am
So far I know the usual claims were that the Marcionites were „many of every nation“ (Justin, 1 Apol 26).
Yes, even the Catholic Encyclopedia agrees that the Marcionite church was basically the first organized Christian church. They were certainly widespread, but from the martyr lists etc. (the church fathers included Marcionite martyrs in their lists), it's clear that it was far more important in the East.
I agree that the Marcionite church could have been the best organized Christian church. But I do not think that there is anything clear. Neil mentioned some sources relating to Pontus as the birth place of Marcion. But nothing is said about the „strongholds“ of the Marcionite church.
Ulan wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:54 am
Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:45 am
With reaching Europe Paul's mission made one of the most important steps in this direction.
Important for whom? For Luke's Roman readers I guess?
Yes. And I think it is one of the major scholarly opinions about Acts 16 that there is nothing wrong with Bithynia and Asia itself and that it was only God's call to go straight away to Macedonia as an important intermediate stop on the larger way from Jerusalem to Rome (Luke's intended geographical destination). Acts 16:10 may be a very good argument in favor of this view. (I remember also an older "historical" interpretation that Luke tried to obscure that Paul was not very successful in Asia.)

What I miss in this thread is a serious discussion (beyond Giuseppe's "evidence") of these two critical points. Is there a problem with Bithynia and Asia itself? If so what is the reliable argument that the problem was Marcion?

Charles Wilson
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Re: Evidence that Marcion existed

Post by Charles Wilson » Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:48 pm

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:18 pm
What I miss in this thread is a serious discussion (beyond Giuseppe's "evidence") of these two critical points. Is there a problem with Bithynia and Asia itself? If so what is the reliable argument that the problem was Marcion?
Tacitus, Histories, Book 3:

"All other nations were equally restless. A sudden outbreak had been excited in Pontus by a barbarian slave, who had before commanded the royal fleet. This was Anicetus, a freedman of Polemon, once a very powerful personage, who, when the kingdom was converted into a Roman province, ill brooked the change. Accordingly he raised in the name of Vitellius the tribes that border on Pontus, bribed a number of very needy adventurers by the hope of plunder, and, at the head of a force by no means contemptible, made a sudden attack on the old and famous city of Trapezus, founded by the Greeks on the farthest shore of the Pontus. There he destroyed a cohort, once a part of the royal contingent. They had afterwards received the privileges of citizenship, and while they carried their arms and banners in Roman fashion, they still retained the indolence and licence of the Greek. Anicetus also set fire to the fleet, and, as the sea was not guarded, escaped, for Mucianus had brought up to Byzantium the best of the Liburnian ships and all the troops. The barbarians even insolently scoured the sea in hastily constructed vessels of their own called "camarae," built with narrow sides and broad bottoms, and joined together without fastenings of brass or iron. Whenever the water is rough they raise the bulwarks with additional planks according to the increasing height of the waves, till the vessel is covered in like a house. Thus they roll about amid the billows, and, as they have a prow at both extremities alike and a convertible arrangement of oars, they may be paddled in one direction or another indifferently and without risk.

The matter attracted the attention of Vespasian, and induced him to dispatch some veterans from the legions under Virdius Geminus, a tried soldier. Finding the enemy in disorder and dispersed in the eager pursuit of plunder, he attacked them, and drove them to their ships. Hastily fitting out a fleet of Liburnian ships he pursued Anicetus, and overtook him at the mouth of the river Cohibus, where he was protected by the king of the Sedochezi, whose alliance he had secured by a sum of money and other presents. This prince at first endeavoured to protect the suppliant by a threat of hostilities; when, however, the choice was presented to him between war and the profit to be derived from treachery, he consented, with the characteristic perfidy of barbarians, to the destruction of Anicetus, and delivered up the refugees. So ended this servile war..."

Much of Acts is built around this passage. The small boat "...secured by ropes" to the last 2 chapters which gives everyone fits, comes from this. Mucianus has taxed all of the money and material as he begins to March to Rome. Trapezus is torched. Anicetus plunders what is left. All of this is within memory of either Marcion or his immediate forebears. This Memory is given in Acts.

This may be what has been left out.

CW

John2
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Re: Evidence that Marcion existed

Post by John2 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:00 pm

KK wrote:
Is there a problem with Bithynia and Asia itself?
I've been looking into this question more and noticed a reference to "the spirit" urging Paul not to go to Jerusalem.

Acts 21:4:
We sought out the disciples there and stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem.
Commentaries to this suggest that it is tied to Acts 20:23:
I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.
Acts 21:10-11 seems to confirm this situation.
After we had been there several days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. Coming over to us, he took Paul's belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, "The Holy Spirit says, 'In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.'"
Was there, then, a possibility that Paul would have faced "prison and hardships" in Bithynia? What does the context of "prison" (δεσμὰ) and "hardships" (θλίψεις: persecution, affliction, distress, tribulation) have to do with Marcionism?

It reminds me of Bithynia in Pliny the Younger's time, when Christians were being persecuted, c. 115 CE:
Here's what I have done to date: I have asked them if they were Christians. If they have confessed, I have asked them a second and third time, threatening them with punishment. If they have persisted, I have commanded them to be led away to punishment.
Sometimes the light's all shining on me, other times I can barely see.

John2
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Re: Evidence that Marcion existed

Post by John2 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:15 pm

And I see that 1 Peter (which I think is genuine) is addressed to Christians in Bithynia:
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia ...
So nothing seems to have prevented Jewish Christians from preaching and living in Bithynia in the first century CE (when I think 1 Peter was written), and this would explain the presence of Christians there in Pliny's time. And unless there's some reason (from the perspective of Acts) that Paul would have been imprisoned or persecuted in Bithynia (per Acts 20:23), I think I would lean towards Acts 16:7 being an echo of Pliny's persecution of Christians.
Sometimes the light's all shining on me, other times I can barely see.

Giuseppe
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Re: Evidence that Marcion existed

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:02 am

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:33 am
In Acts, Paul is with all of his enemies always in melee.
Paul couldn't be in melee against some prototype of Marcion à la Simon Magus in Bythinia and Pontus. That would be equivalent to recognize the existence of “proto-marcionites” in the Apostolic Age, a privilege conceded only to that idiot of “Simon Magus”. “Luke” (editor) wanted to show that the Spirit was absent from the beginning, and even hostile, to the place where Marcion was to be born and lived.

Therefore my comparison with Matthew's prohibition of preaching among the Samaritans works perfectly.
Samaritans were personae non gratae, and so also Marcion of Sinope.

And the Bythinia was the door of Pontus just as Galatia. But Galatia was confirmed by the epistle of Paul as a place where Paul went in. Therefore this is evidence that “Luke” (editor) knew the pauline epistles (and even epistles already interpolated by proto-catholics) and played accordingly.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Evidence that Marcion existed

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:38 am

John2 wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:00 pm
Was there, then, a possibility that Paul would have faced "prison and hardships" in Bithynia?
That seems to be an interesting idea. Very good observation. Some mentions of "Asia" in Acts point in the same direction.

6:8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen.

19:24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. 25 These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. 26 And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. 27 And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.”

21:27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place. Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.”

16 So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man. 17 Now after several years I came to bring alms to my nation and to present offerings. 18 While I was doing this, they found me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult. But some Jews from Asia— 19 they ought to be here before you and to make an accusation, should they have anything against me. 20 Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the council, 21 other than this one thing that I cried out while standing among them: ‘It is with respect to the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you this day.’”

It seems that in Acts the Jews of Asia were the bitterest enemies of Paul.

John2
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Re: Evidence that Marcion existed

Post by John2 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:28 pm

KK wrote:
It seems that in Acts the Jews of Asia were the bitterest enemies of Paul.
I was starting to wonder about the Asia part in Acts 16:6, and that would make a lot of sense if it has something to do with "the Jews of Asia" in Acts who opposed Paul. Let's look at who 1 Peter 1:1 is addressed to again in that light.
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia ...
So if there is anything to Acts 16:6-7, maybe it was because there was Jewish Christian opposition to Paul in these places (culminating in Paul's expulsion from Jerusalem at their instigation in Acts 21-23). Acts is, after all, arguably pro-Pauline, and 1 Peter (in my view) indicates that there were Jewish Christians in Asia and Bithynia in the first century CE and it seems plausible that some of them could have opposed Paul. And to judge from Galatians, Paul seems to have also had issues with Jewish Christians in Galatia, which is another province mentioned in 1 Peter.

I would suppose now that Acts has enough on its plate trying harmonize the Jewish Christian and Pauline factions of Christianity to worry about Marcion or Pliny the Younger (and in a vague allusion, at that).

I was wondering if the reference to Asia in Acts 16:6 could have something to do with Tacitus (who opposed Christians and, some argue, got his information about them when he was governor of Asia), like Bithynia and Pliny (bearing in mind the context of "prison and hardships" in Acts 20:23), but now, in light of what KK has pointed out, I think it more likely has something to do with Jewish Christian opposition to Paul.
Last edited by John2 on Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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