... we now know that Marcion’s Pauline collection contained the same ten letters circulating among many non-Marcionite churches of his time, without the Pastorals (whose earliest certain citation occurs only a generation or two after Marcion) ... Tertullian made no comment on the order of letters in the Apostolikon
, because he wrote at a time when no fixed order for them had been set (outside of the Marcionite community) that would serve as a point of contrast. By the time of Epiphanius, however, Paul’s epistles had come to have a standard order (from longest to shortest), and with it came a new point of contrast to be read back anachronistically into Marcion’s supposed motives for “rearranging” them. Modern researchers have followed Epiphanius ever since in suspicions about Marcion’s motives for giving priority to Galatians in the Apostolikon
... priority of Galatians...
now has been shown to have occurred also in the ten-letter Pauline collection circulating among non-Marcionite Christians in Syria, undercutting the assumption that Marcion was responsible for it.
BeDuhn, JD (2015) The New Marcion: Rethinking the ”Arch-Heretic”
– Westar Institute's Academic Journal
From BeDuhn's 2013 The First New Testament: Marcion's Scriptural Canon
pp. 205-6 -
... a few key pieces of evidence do appear to support the conclusion that "Marcion's Pauline corpus is derivative in both content and structure from another earlier edition of the letters".12
Based upon the recent studies of Clabeaux and Schmid, Gamble observe[d] that
... Marcion is not to be credited with extensive tendentious emendations, and...his text of the epistles belonged to a common pre-Marcionite form of the Pauline texts that was already current around at the beginning of the second century.13
pp. 215-6 -
- 12. Gamble (2002), "The New Testament Canon: Recent Research," 283 [see 6 above].
13. Gamble (2002), "The New Testament Canon: Recent Research," 284 [see 6 above].
- 13 cont'd, Clabeaux (1989), A Lost Edition of the Letters of Paul, 147, note[d] a correspondence between the textual traditions that show the closest connections to the variant readings in Marcion's text (the "I-type" Old Latin witnesses, and the witnesses to the older Syriac versions) and the places where the Marcionite - actually chronological - order of the letters is attested (in the Latin Prologues and in the commentary of Ephrem Syrus). He follows Frede (Altlateinisché Paulus-Handschriften, 167 and 178) in suggesting that the Old Latin version was based on a Greek text from Antioch in Syria, thus drawing together the two regions where we find the closest connection to Marcion's text, at least in the minor textual variants (see Clabeaux, 147-8). He casts appropriate doubt on the idea that Marcion got his NT texts in Rome.
The idea that Paul's letters circulated in an alternative "ecumenical" version is supported by places in the manuscript tradition where the specific addressees of the letters are omitted, for example, in a number of manuscripts of Ephesians (at 1.2), and in some manuscripts of Romans (at 1.7 and 1.15)39
and 1 Corinthians (at 1.2).40
Some would attribute these ecumenizing edits to Marcion, as part of his purpose of turning highly circumstantial letters into doctrinal resources.41
But there is no evidence that the addressees were omitted in the Apostilokon; on the contrary, Marcion's versions of Paul's letters quite clearly included the specific references to Rome, to Corinth, and to "Laodicea" in place of Ephesus. Harry Gamble looks instead to a "Pauline school" descending from the circle of Paul's co-workers, which at some point assembled the ten-letter collection found in the Apostolikon as an ideal set addressed to seven churches "symbolizing universality".42
Removing specific addressees would not have been the only, or even necessary, modification in order to make the letters more "ecumenical". Paul's letters contain sections devoted to ephemeral matters, such as travel plans, arrangements for collecting funds, commendations of individuals, ans so forth, which an editor would likely remove. The nature of Tertullian's and Epiphanius' remarks about the Apostolikon may provide evidence that the latter contained such "ecumenically" redacted versions of the letters. Both writers make repeatedly critical remarks about Marcion mutilating and shortening Paul's letters, but neither cites very many specific passages that he supposedly omitted.This is in sharp contrast to their handling of the Evanglion ... Neither Tertuallian nor Epiphanius refer to any of the passages of ephemeral content in Paul's letters ... Could it be that these passages were removed..? On the other hand, precisely because such material offered little of use to their polemic, Tertullian and Epiphanius may have simply passed it by in silence.
... it may be that Paul's original letters were shorter, and the longer canonical versions have been supplemented with expansions Paul and his followers added later.43
- 39. Such omissions were known to Origen; see Bauernfeind, Der Römerbrieftexr des Origenes nach dem Codex von der goltz, TU 44.3. Leipzig, 1923.
40. On this phenomenon, see Dahl, "The Particularity of the Pauline Epistles as a Problem in the Ancient Church", pp. 261-71 in Neotestamentica et Patristica ... Leiden: Brill, 1962. To explain why only three of the letters were generalized by removing specific addressees, Trobisch, Paul's Letter Collection, has proposed that the three must have circulated as an independent set (along with Hebrews) as an ecumenical or "catholic" text, alongside of the more familiar full set whose specific addressees were left in place. He suggests that Paul himself edited the two sets.
41. e.g., Dupont (1948), "Pour l'histoire de la doxologie finale de l'épître aux Romains," Revue Bénédictine, 3-22; at 7-8.
42. Gamble (2002), "The New Testament Canon: Recent Research," 283, 286 [see 6 above].
43. Richards, "The Codex and Early Collections of Paul's Letters" [Bulletin for Biblical Research 8 (1998), 151-66.], has proposed that Paul kept a personal copy of his letters in a notebook (note the reference to the membranas in 2 Tim 4.13), and that the Pauline corpus derives from this notebook. This practice would have facilitated the incorporation of additional material prior to the formation of a circulating set.
(44. Van Manen, "Marcion's brief van Paulus aan de Galatiërs" [Theologisch Tijdschrift 21 (1887) 382-404, 451-533 (non vidi)], argued that [the original form of Galatians was a shorter text], and that the canonical version offers a post-Marcion catholic recension. But there are other alternatives, especially when we consider that Paul's letter to the Galatians must haveo been sent in multiple copies, since it presumably went to more than one city in the province of Galatia. Did he send out...slightly different versions...?
Yet, previously in The First New Testament
, BeDuhn was somewhat more circumspect about pre-Marcion letters or a pre-Marcion collection-
pp. 203-4 -
... the evidence is poor for widespread and sustained attention to Paul across the spectrum of early Christianity from his [traditionally proposed]
lifetime to the end of the second century.2
Many writers of the period between Paul and Marcion (and well beyond) show no knowledge of Paul or his letters.3
The exceptions acknowledge his stature in some way, while dealing with him as a problem: difficult to understand (2 Peter), in need of subordination and harmonization to other Christian authority figures (Acts), or in need of correction (James).4
Of the writers before Marcion, only Clement explicitly cites and endorses statements by Paul - but notably in a letter to the Corinthian community Paul had founded, where it would be difficult to avoid his local authority.5
Clement's testimony makes it clear some of Paul's letters were circulating beyond the places to which they had been sent; but it is not enough to prove that there existed a collection - a Pauline corpus
- in which a set of letters had been edited together as a text of Christian instruction. The first clear evidence of such a Pauline corpus is the Apostolikon of Marcion.6
- Linderman, Paulus im ältesten Christentum: Das Bild des Apostels und die Rezeption der paulinischen theologie in der frühchristlichen Literatur bis Markion, Tubingen, Mohr-Siebeck, 1979,
Dassmann, Der Stachel im Fleish: Paulus in frühchchristlichen literatur bis Irenaeus,; Munster, Aschendorff, 1979,
Rensberger, "As the Apostle Teaches: the Development of the Use of Paul's Letters in Second Century Christianity," PhD diss., Yale Univ. Press, 1981.
- see W. Schneemelcher, "Paulus in der griechischen Kirche des zweiten Jahrhunderts," Zeitschrift für Kirchenggeschichte 75 (1964) 1-20.
- ... none of these three writings can be definitively dated to the time before Marcion, and a number of modern researchers have argued that they at least belong to the second century, perhaps even to the time when Marcion was forcing a response on the authority of Paul.
- Uncertainty over the date and integrity of the letters of Ignatius makes it inadvisable to use them for evidence of the status of Paul before Marcion. Even the date of Clement remains controversial, although most would place him before Marcion.
- see Gamble HY, "The New Testament Canon: Recent Research and the Status Questionis," 283, in The Canon Debate, ed. LM McDonald and JA Sanders; Peabody, Hendrickson, 2002
A great deal of study in recent decades has been devoted to reconstructing the origin of the Pauline corpus.10
- 10. Gamble (1985), The New Testament Canon: Its Making and Meaning, Philidelphia: Fortress Press, 36-41;
.....Lovering (1988), "The Collection, Redaction, and Early Circulation of the Corpus Paulinum," PhD diss., Southern Methodist University; and
....Price R.M. (1997), "The Evolution of the Pauline Canon," Hervormde teologiese studies 53 36-67;