Paul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
rgprice
Posts: 330
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:57 pm

Re: Paul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Post by rgprice » Mon Feb 15, 2021 4:52 am

@Ben
Totally false. I do not think you thought this one through.
I'm not sure what you're getting at.

I'm not sure what you think the Syriac order means or proves? The Syriac collection was clearly late, or at least continued to be built upon for some time. 3 Corinthians can't possibly be from prior to the mid second century.

Is the point that you believe the Syriac collection was based on a non-Marcionite original source of the collection? That's certainly possible, but by no means the only possibility.

Given the harmonization work of the Syrian Tatian on the Gospels, what's to say that this isn't a similar harmonized version of later Pauline collections in which the editor made an "attempt to arrange the letters in chronological order"?

I'm not even saying that is the explanation for this collection, I'm just saying there are many possibilities. I'm not sure what you think it proves or how you think it proves that the orthodox Pauline collection didn't borrow from Marcion.

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 8566
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Paul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Feb 15, 2021 5:50 am

rgprice wrote:
Mon Feb 15, 2021 4:52 am
@Ben
Totally false. I do not think you thought this one through.
I'm not sure what you're getting at.
Okay, walk me through it. What makes this chronological order (Galatians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, and Romans) so obvious that, in your words, "anyone who endeavored to arrange them by date of authorship would arrive at that order?" I would be happy to be proven wrong.
I'm not sure what you think the Syriac order means or proves?
It is in the quotation from BeDuhn that I posted. It seems unlikely that the Syriac epistles derive from Marcion in their order but from the orthodox collection in their content. If that is the case, then the order is probably not Marcionite; rather, both the Syriac epistles and Marcion derived these elements of their order from a previous collection.
Is the point that you believe the Syriac collection was based on a non-Marcionite original source of the collection? That's certainly possible, but by no means the only possibility.
And, on the other side, it is possible that the Syriac collection did derive its order from Marcion but its contents from the orthodox canon. It is just that, to my eye (and to that of increasing numbers of modern researchers of Marcion), that possibility seems less likely than the obvious alternative.

rgprice
Posts: 330
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:57 pm

Re: Paul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Post by rgprice » Mon Feb 15, 2021 8:40 am

@Ben

I believe you are claiming that you think the Pastorals are a part of an original collection per Trobisch. I like a lot of what Trobisch has to say, but I don't think his assessment of the Pauline letters does a good job of dealing with Marcion.

I don't agree that the Pastorals were part of a Pauline collection at the time that Marcion put out the Apostolikon. I see those as a definite later addition. They seem distinctly post-Gospel, unlike all of the other Pauline letters. So, IMO, those are certainly a later addition, that would have been written after the Apostolikon. The Pastorals are distinctly anti-Marcionite, contain at least one reference to a Gospel, and tie in to Acts of the Apostles.

There are very few differences between the Apostolikon and the orthodox Pauline letters, with the exception of Romans. But Romans appears to have been circulating on its own as a separate open letter. An orthodox editor could have used that copy of Romans to replace the Marcionite version. The fact that Romans is at the front of the orthodox collection, but fourth in the Marcionite collection is interesting. Yes, it can be explained by length, BUT, that's only when using all 16 chapters, plus the final doxology. So what if the orthodox put Romans at the front for ideological reasons in order to point out the difference with Marcion? I find it interesting that there is no known example ordered by length that has 1 Corinthians first with a shorter version of Romans after the Corinthian epistles. In other words the biggest difference between the orthodox and Marcionite collections was Romans, and that very book is made most prominent in the orthodox collection. Maybe that's just a coincidence?

Trobisch argues that the Pauline letter collection goes back to a single source. How does this accommodate either Marcion or the Syrian collection? It seems to me that Trobish didn't take these into account.

Are you arguing that there was a single source, which branched at some point with Marcion working from one branch and the orthodox working from another branch? In you view, the Pastorals and Hebrews were both in the original trunk? So in your view the original collection had 14 letters, possibly in the order we see in Marcion. Then Marcion cherry picked from this and didn't include Hebrews or the Pastorals?

And the orthodox worked from the original trunk which included Hebrews and the Pastorals, but they decided to reorder them?

See, I think that Trobish's later work, TFEotNT, actually counters his earlier work on the Pauline letters.

In TFEotNT I think he successfully shows that a first edition of the NT was produced by a single individual in the second half of the second century. This would have been done in response to Marcionism. That work would have been where the orthodox collection of the Pauline letters, with the Pastorals and Hebrews, was established. Everything that resembles that collection traces back to the first edition of the NT.

But the Marcionite collection precedes that collection.

Also, a problem I have with Trobish's theory is that it rests so heavily on Romans 15, which I'm increasingly suspicious of. In Romans 15 Paul claims to have basically converted all of Asia Minor and Greece and claims that Christianity is already so established in Rome that there is no point in him ministering there. This is a very suspicious claim. This sounds like a claim made y Roman Christians of the second century who are trying to inflate the reputation of Roman Christianity and also make it clear that Peter is the real evangelist of Rome, not Paul.

The orthodox version of Romans has openings and closing that are very suspicious along these grounds and work to make the claim basically that Roman Christianity was well established before Paul.
Romans 1:
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.
This is not in the Marcionite version. Like the closing, this looks suspiciously like a late addition. Really, in the 50s CE the Christian faith of the Romans was reported "all over the world"? Sounds like 2nd century BS to me. Paul was remembering the Romans at all times? Sounds like anti-Marcionite propaganda.

If everything goes back to one source, then either Marcion had to have done what he was accused of - redact that source, or the orthodox version has to have built on Marcion's letters. Alternatives require that Trobish's theory falls apart at some point.

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 8566
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Paul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Feb 15, 2021 12:11 pm

rgprice wrote:
Mon Feb 15, 2021 8:40 am
@Ben

I believe you are claiming that you think the Pastorals are a part of an original collection per Trobisch.

I like a lot of what Trobisch has to say, but I don't think his assessment of the Pauline letters does a good job of dealing with Marcion.

I don't agree that the Pastorals were part of a Pauline collection at the time that Marcion put out the Apostolikon.
I suspect the Pastorals postdate Marcion. What would have given you the opposite impression? I am not sure what you mean by "an original collection." I do not think the Pastorals were part of any of the earliest collections (that is, up to Marcion).

Nor am I sure what kind of contradiction you are finding between Trobisch's work on Paul's letter collection and his work on the NT canon. Can you give me some quotes or something to show me what you are talking about?
Trobisch argues that the Pauline letter collection goes back to a single source. How does this accommodate either Marcion or the Syrian collection? It seems to me that Trobish didn't take these into account.
I am finding the terms you are using a bit confusing. What do you mean by a single source? Trobisch argues for a series of increasingly longer Pauline letter collections. Is the very first one, the Hauptbriefe, what you are calling the single source? Not sure what you mean.
In your view, the Pastorals and Hebrews were both in the original trunk? So in your view the original collection had 14 letters, possibly in the order we see in Marcion.
No, none of this is even close to my current position. I am quite confused, to be honest.

rgprice
Posts: 330
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:57 pm

Re: Paul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Post by rgprice » Mon Feb 15, 2021 1:35 pm

@Ben

I thought you were saying that you disagreed that the orthodox Pauline letters came from Marcion, plus 3 letters written by orthodox Christians.

If you agree that the Pastorals are post-Marcion, then why do you not think that the orthodox Pauline collection was adapted from Marcion? Just because the same sequence was found in another collection that uses both the Marcionite order with the orthodox letters?

I'm saying, I find it hard to believe that orthodox Christians got a collection of exactly the same ten letters that Marcion "published", but from some other source that was entirely independent of Marcion.
Nor am I sure what kind of contradiction you are finding between Trobisch's work on Paul's letter collection and his work on the NT canon. Can you give me some quotes or something to show me what you are talking about?
In his book on the Pauline letter collection he proposes that Paul's letter collection goes all the way back to a single source that started with the four letters. This is based on an analysis that makes no mention of either the Syrian collection or Marcion's canon. It seems to me that Trobisch's analysis really identifies that the orthodox collection goes back to a single source, which would be the first edition of the New Testament that he establishes in his later book.

Also, if I understand Trobisch correctly, he says that the Pastorals were part of the original letter collection. This would imply that he would say that Marcion's had removed those letters from his canon (or someone else did prior to Marcion).

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 8566
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Paul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Feb 15, 2021 2:09 pm

rgprice wrote:
Mon Feb 15, 2021 1:35 pm
@Ben

I thought you were saying that you disagreed that the orthodox Pauline letters came from Marcion, plus 3 letters written by orthodox Christians.
I do disagree that the orthodox Pauline letters came from Marcion, yes. Apparently you are narrowing things down to only two options, and I am selecting a third.
If you agree that the Pastorals are post-Marcion, then why do you not think that the orthodox Pauline collection was adapted from Marcion? Just because the same sequence was found in another collection that uses both the Marcionite order with the orthodox letters?
That is one of the reasons. Another is the evidence from word counts that Trobisch and Gamble discuss at length, evidence which suggests that the collection started with fewer epistles than 10 and then grew to that number, and then beyond.
I'm saying, I find it hard to believe that orthodox Christians got a collection of exactly the same ten letters that Marcion "published", but from some other source that was entirely independent of Marcion.
Why, though? That is the easiest datum to explain of them all. Marcion (and his predecessors and contemporaries) simply collected all that were available to them at the time. The Pastorals had yet to be written, as well as 3 Corinthians and the correspondence with Seneca and the ones listed in the Muratorian canon.

If my goal is to collect all the known Pauline epistles, and your goal is the same, and the epistles are finite and manageable in number (like, say, 10), we are pretty likely to collect the same set.

What I am not understanding, for example, is how you are able to propose that the Syrian church and Marcion could have independently hit upon the order of Galatians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, and Romans on the basis of chronology (to which I ask, HOW?) but they could not have independently hit upon the same set of 10 epistles if their goal was to collect all of them. The second is clearly an easier thing than the first, yet you are fine with the first and doubt the second.
In his book on the Pauline letter collection he proposes that Paul's letter collection goes all the way back to a single source that started with the four letters.
Right. The Hauptbriefe. I agree with that.
This is based on an analysis that makes no mention of either the Syrian collection or Marcion's canon.
Marcion's canon postdates the Hauptbriefe, so is irrelevant to that stage of the Pauline collection. The Syrian collection simply suggests that the order of the first four epistles (Galatians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, and Romans) is not Marcionite. I am not sure what issue you are finding with any of this.
Also, if I understand Trobisch correctly, he says that the Pastorals were part of the original letter collection.
Part of the Hauptbriefe? Part of Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, and Galatians? Again, I am confused.
This would imply that he would say that Marcion's had removed those letters from his canon (or someone else did prior to Marcion).
Again, please quote him to this effect. My understanding of him is completely different. He says or implies no such thing in The Pauline Letter Collection, which I own, but I do not currently have access to The First Edition of the New Testament.

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 8566
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Paul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Feb 15, 2021 2:34 pm

Maybe this will help a bit? Dunno.

Pauline Epistolary Collections.png
Pauline Epistolary Collections.png (45.72 KiB) Viewed 1087 times

In my current view, there are 4 basic stages:
  1. Someone collects the Hauptbriefe (Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians) together into a Pauline collection.
  2. Someone else later adds Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 & 2 Thessalonians to create a collection of epistles written to Seven Churches. I cannot tell whether these epistles were originally arranged by word count or by some other principle, such as chronology. At any rate, whichever came first, the other came shortly thereafter, and the same nine epistles to seven churches were organized in two different ways. At some point, Marcion adopted the "other" one (not arranged by word count) for his own canon, adding only Philemon (if Philemon was not already included in the base collection; I cannot tell yet).
  3. The Thirteen Letter collection, which includes the Pastorals, is a reaction against Marcion, but it is built upon the rival Seven Churches edition.
  4. The Fourteen Letter collection, which now includes Hebrews, is published.

andrewcriddle
Posts: 1915
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:36 am

Re: Paul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Post by andrewcriddle » Mon Feb 15, 2021 2:44 pm

Aleph One wrote:
Sun Feb 14, 2021 8:57 pm
D. Roth mentions a couple "recent" attempts at reconstructing Marcion's Apostolikon from available evidence in his book on the text of Marcion's gospel (2015):
In recognition of this lacuna, recent monographs arising from doctoral dissertations have focused on critically establishing Marcion’s Apostolikon and have brought much light to this “half” of Marcion’s canon.(9)

(9) Cf. especially Ulrich Schmid, Marcion und sein Apostolos: Rekonstruktion und historische Einordnung der marcionitischen Paulusbriefausgabe (antf 25; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1995). An attempt to reconstruct part of the pre-Marcion Pauline text was set forth in John J. Clabeaux, A Lost Edition of the Letters of Paul: A Reassessment of the Text of the Pauline Corpus Attested by Marcion (cbqms 21; Washington, d.c.: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 1989).
Perhaps if you have access to such works and/or speak German this will help your search (which unfortunately for me, it doesn't). :goodmorning:
Old archived post by me on Clabeaux
Clabeaux has a long list of Marcionite readings in Galatians 1 Corinthians Ephesians Colossians 1-2 Thessalonians and Philippians. This only includes readings which Clabeaux regards as partly or wholly pre-Marcionite. The ten or so readings which he regards as clearly Marcionite corrections are not listed but presumably could plausibly be claimed by Detering as cases of Orthodox correction of an original Marcionite reading.

In a large minority of Clabeaux’s Marcionite readings the Marcionite reading is listed as original, in the rest the Marcionite reading is regarded as secondary (although according to Clabeaux at least mostly pre-Marcionite). This evaluation is supposedly done on internal evidence but in some cases Detering could plausibly claim that the criteria are biased against his position. Eg Clabeaux regards the omission of hO KAI PARELABON in 1 Corinthians 15:3 as secondary but pre-Marcionite. Detering on his principles could plausibly regard the reference to Paul receiving tradition from others as an orthodox correction. Some of Clabeaux’s other cases seem uncertain on internal grounds alone by any criteria.

However in the majority of cases where Clabeaux claims the reading is secondary on internal evidence appear IMO sound. A list of these follows.

1/ Gal 1:8 Marcion reads EUAGGELISHTAI with others reading EUAGGELIZHTAI or EUAGGELIZETAI. Here EUAGGELIZHTAI is the easiest reading to explain the origin of the other two.

2/ Gal 2:4 Marcion reads DIA instead of DIA DE. DE probably omitted by mechanical error following DIA.

3/ Galatians 3:14 Marcion reads EULOGIAN for EPAGGELIAN with considerable manuscript support. This is an assimilation to EULOGIA earlier in the verse.

4/ Galatians 4:26 Ephesians 1:21 is apparently present in Marcion’s text as an explanation of Jerusalem above. This seems to be a gloss which has got into the text.

5/ Gal 5:14 Marcion has EN hUMIN PEPLHRWTAI for EN hENI LOGW(i) PEPLHRWTA EN TW(i) with some support for EN hUMIN EN hENI LOGW(i) PEPLHRWTA and some early evidence replacing EN hENI LOGW(i) (in one word) by EN OLIGW(i). (in few) I am less certain than Clabeaux what the original was but agree that the absence of EN hENI LOGW(i) in Marcion is secondary resulting from the same motives as caused EN OLIGW(i). ie the command to love your neighbour is pedantically not one word but several.

6/ 1 Cor 2:8 Marcion OUDEPOTE for OUK rhetorical/stylistic change to emphasis the awfulness of crucifying Christ.

7/ 1 Cor 5:3 Marcion GAR hWS for GAR. This is majority text and is stylistic improvement balancing hWS later in verse.

8/ Marcion omits H in ESThIEI H TIS. No motive for deliberate addition omission may be stylistic effect (9:7 now has 3 clauses beginning TIS) or by miscopying from spoken ESThIEI H.

9/ 1 Cor 9:9 Marcion PhIMWSEIS for KHMWSEIS. This is majority text and is an assimilation to the Septuagint.

10/ 1 Cor 12:9 Marcion has ChARISMA for ChARISMATA Similarly

11/ 1 Cor 12:10 Marcion has DIAKRISIS for DIAKRISEIS in both cases the rather problematic plural has been replaced by a singular for stylistic reasons.

12/ 1 Corinthians 14:19 Marcion reads DIA TON NOMON apparently through misreading TW(i) NOI MOU

13/ 1 Corinthians 14:21 Marcion has hETEROIS for hETERWN. This is majority text and is an assimilation to the Septuagint.

14/ 1 Cor 14:34 Marcion reads EKKLHSIA(i) for EKKLHSIAIS. Changing ‘the churches’ to ‘the church’ makes the passage more general and seems secondary.

15/ 1 Cor 15:45 Marcion has KURIOS for (2nd) ADAM similarly

16/ 1 Cor 15:47 Marcion has KURIOS for (2nd) ANTHRWPOS. Both secondary see my first post in this thread.

17/ 1 Cor 15:50 Marcion has GAR for DE which clarifies the connection berween vs 49 and 50. Marcion also reads BASILEIAN ThEOU OU KLHRONOMHSOUSIV (will not inherit the kingdom of God) for BASILEIAN ThEOU KLHRONOMHSAI OU DUNANTAI (cannot inherit the kingdom of God) This is probably an assimilation to passages like 1 Cor 6:9,10 and Gala 5:21

18/ Eph 1:13 Marcion has EN hW(i) PISTEUSANTES for EN hW(i) KAI PISTEUSANTES probably a stylistic improvement by a scribe who saw the clause as referring to believing in the Gospel rather than in Christ himself.

19/ Eph 2:15 Marcion has hEAUTW(i) for AUTW(i) This is majority text and is a clarification.

20/ Eph 2:17 Marcion omits second EIRHNHN This is majority text and is a stylistic improvement.

21/ Eph 5:28 Marcion reads ‘Men ought to love their wives. He loves his own flesh who loves his wife as Christ loves the church’. Instead of ‘Men ought to love their wives as their own flesh. He who loves his wife loves himself’ I’m not convinced by Clabeaux’s detailed reconstruction of the history of this variant but I agree that ‘as Christ loves the church’ is secondary here.

22/ Eph 5:29 Marcion has MISEI ALLA KAI for EMISHSEN ALLA which is a stylistic improvement.

23/ Col 4:10 Marcion has hINA OUN for EAN which clarifies the passage.

24/ Col 2:11 Marcion reads MONOI MOI EISI for MONOI which clarifies the passage.

25/ 1Thess 2:15 Marcion reads IDIOUS PROPhHTAS (their prophets) for PROPhHTAS although this is clearly a difference of Marcionite and orthodox understanding of Paul IDIOS used in this way is non-Pauline (unless you regard Titus 1:12 as Pauline.)

26/ 2 Thess 1:9 Marcion reads OLEThRION (destructive) for OLEThRON (destruction) OLEThRON is the Pauline term see 1 Cor 5:5 and especially 1 Thess 5:3 and OLEThRION is an easy mistake.

27/ Phil 2:7 Marcion reads ANThRWPOU for ANThRWPWN. This is a change of the anomalous plural to singular on stylistic grounds.


(Hope there are no errors in this list)

Not all of these examples will be equally convincing but together they present a strong argument that Marcion’s text is not always original.

Andrew Criddle
Andrew Criddle

Stuart
Posts: 655
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:24 am
Location: Sunnyvale, CA

Re: Paul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Post by Stuart » Mon Feb 15, 2021 3:11 pm

To the OP:

I think the best way to look at the Marcionite Pauline collection is as an earlier version of the canonical collection, frozen at a random point in development.

The Marcionite collection is not the product of a single author nor are the letters complete compositions. Rather they are fragments pulled together by a few different editors, and then placed in collections, possibly of three --or even a couple sub collections--, then seven and finally ten letter form. Opening addresses and short closing doxologies were added when placed in the collection.

In short the Pauline collection is a bunch of snowball compositions, formed into letters and expanded over time. The Marcionite collection, as stated above, halted the process at an earlier point than the canonical. The canonical received it's own editorial layer to conform better with proto-orthodox teachings on top, plus some adjusted or new openings and closings. But even so continued to snowball (e.g., chapter 16 of Romans and chapter 16 of 1 Corinthians).

What this tells me is that the Marcionites had the identical collection as the main movement, but at some point they broke away, and by doing so halted the editorial process. (Church legend puts that rupture in around 145 CE, give or take a couple years ... this does not appear to be disputed by the Marcionites from what can be gleaned from the anti-Marcionite Patristic writings. FWIW.)

The other somewhat plausible explanation is that the proto-orthodox brought in the Marcionite book collection by absorbing a similar gnostic or splinter Marcionite group such as that of Apelles, whom legend has allied with the proto-orthodox, despite their incompatible theolgies. Politics first. If this is the scenario, then the Marcionite collection was brought in by this group along with the Marcionite gospel (which was revised into Luke), as was possibly an early form of John and 1 John. That is speculative. But something like that must have happened if the Marcionites were outside the church.

I do not think so, as the Marcionite churches were structured nearly identically to the Catholic churches, with Bishops and Deacons and so on; same names for positions, same structure. It strikes me as highly unlikely the form would be so identical if they were a separate organization from the start, as their would have been some differences in position names and organizational structure (no two companies are identical in their rank names). So it follows that the Pauline collection we have is from the exact same stream as the Marcionite, but with a longer period of material accumulation and an additional editorial layer to bring into Catholic form.

But neither collection is truly Marcionite, rather a composite of various sectarian and common teachings.

hakeem
Posts: 442
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:20 am

Re: Paul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Post by hakeem » Mon Feb 15, 2021 5:49 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Mon Feb 15, 2021 2:34 pm
Maybe this will help a bit? Dunno.


Pauline Epistolary Collections.png


In my current view, there are 4 basic stages:
  1. Someone collects the Hauptbriefe (Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians) together into a Pauline collection.
  2. Someone else later adds Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 & 2 Thessalonians to create a collection of epistles written to Seven Churches. I cannot tell whether these epistles were originally arranged by word count or by some other principle, such as chronology. At any rate, whichever came first, the other came shortly thereafter, and the same nine epistles to seven churches were organized in two different ways. At some point, Marcion adopted the "other" one (not arranged by word count) for his own canon, adding only Philemon (if Philemon was not already included in the base collection; I cannot tell yet).
  3. The Thirteen Letter collection, which includes the Pastorals, is a reaction against Marcion, but it is built upon the rival Seven Churches edition.
  4. The Fourteen Letter collection, which now includes Hebrews, is published.
Your current view is that you cannot tell us anything? Dunno. Your speculation does not help to resolve anything.

Post Reply