What was Marcion's Gospel?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Post Reply

What was Marcion's Gospel?

Poll ended at Tue Jun 15, 2021 1:05 am

Post-Luke, Similar to Luke
4
25%
Pre-Luke, Similar to Luke
6
38%
Pre-Mark, Similar to Luke
4
25%
Proto-Mark or Similar to Mark
2
13%
Proto-Matthew or Similar to Matthew
0
No votes
Proto-Diatessaron, Similar to a Gospel Harmony
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 16

User avatar
Peter Kirby
Site Admin
Posts: 5604
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:13 pm
Location: Santa Clara
Contact:

What was Marcion's Gospel?

Post by Peter Kirby »

I'm wondering what people here think.

The most common view seems to be that the text was similar to the Gospel of Luke. Then its relationship to the synoptics might be:
Post-Luke: written after all the synoptics
Pre-Luke: written after Mark but before Luke (on the idea of Markan priority)
Pre-Mark: written before all the synoptics (Klinghardt's idea)

There's also the possibility that it is more like Mark than it is like Luke. There's a reference to Marcionites, Paul, and Mark... and there's even the strange coincidence of the names Mark and Marcion.

There's a possibility of saying it's more like Matthew than the other synoptics.

Then there's the possibility that it's like none of the three, perhaps because it resembled a gospel harmony.

Any ideas missing here? What do you think?
User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 9089
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: What was Marcion's Gospel?

Post by Giuseppe »

My vote is:

Pre-Mark, Similar to Luke.

Mark's gentiles as dogs is surely not a gentile thing to say.----> Mark can't be marcionite.

The delayed healing of the Mark's blind of Bethsaida is a clear expansion of the rapid healing of the blind called Bartimaeus in Marcion. ----> Mark can't precede Marcion.
Stuart
Posts: 730
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:24 am
Location: Sunnyvale, CA

Re: What was Marcion's Gospel?

Post by Stuart »

Pre-Luke

Built off an early form of the prototype gospel, common to the Synoptics.

Luke used the Marcionite as his backbone, but basically doubled the size, and harmonized with Matthew and Mark here and there, and corrected them (e.g., his genealogy is in response to Matthew's, as is his protoevangelium).

The Marcionite author felt as free as the other authors to move material around. He removed the Baptism of Jesus (but left the source of authority). He moved the calling of the fishermen (and changed it), he moved the ointment story. He moved the Tricky Question and replaced it with another. He moved some verses from the mini-Apocalypse to his central section. He also added a lot of elements of his own (Blessings and Woes, Sermon on the Mount, Lazarus, post crucifixion appearances, a lot of material Matthew usurped which led many to believe in Q).

Now that is all based on the theory that Mark did not move material around, and that if Matthew and Mark agree on sequence against Luke/Marcion on common material, then most likely it was Luke/Marcion that moved it.
User avatar
mlinssen
Posts: 824
Joined: Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:01 am
Location: The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: What was Marcion's Gospel?

Post by mlinssen »

I have come to think (or wish, for that matter, the idea is very young) that it was Marcion who first built something of a story on top of Thomas

I would need to go back to my 72 logia, although what I really want to do with that is put the Coptic of Thomas next to the Greek of the Synoptics + John and add Paul to it, in order to have the very best comparison ever.
I am unsure what the naked languages would do other than prove verbatim agreement although there is no one who contests the agreement, of course - it is only the direction of dependence that gets steered in favour of the canonicals because the usual suspects don't understand textual criticism and only busy themselves with comparing the interpretations

Mark has 35 Thomasine logia and 6 parables, and adds 1 of his own making.
Luke has 65 logia and adds 5 parables, and 13 of his own - and I would need to know what Marcion has of Thomas

Mark's seed growing secretly clearly is a mashup of Thomas logion 9 (sower), 21 (release your field to us) and 57 (zizanion / darnel).
Luke 7:32 has a different phrase of logion 21, very garbled.
Luke 11:21 has yet another different phrase of logion 21, very garbled.
Luke 12:39 has yet another different phrase of logion 21, very garbled.
He has a regular copy of logion 9 just as Mark does, and he has nothing of login 57

Luke 8:4 When a great multitude came together, and people from every city were coming to him, he spoke by a parable. 5 "The farmer went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some fell along the road, and it was trampled under foot, and the birds of the sky devoured it. 6 Other seed fell on the rock, and as soon as it grew, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 Other fell amid the thorns, and the thorns grew with it, and choked it. 8 Other fell into the good ground, and grew, and produced one hundred times as much fruit." As he said these things, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"

Mark 4:2 He taught them many things in parables, and told them in his teaching, 3 "Listen! Behold, the farmer went out to sow, 4 and as he sowed, some seed fell by the road, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Others fell on the rocky ground, where it had little soil, and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of soil. 6 When the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8 Others fell into the good ground, and yielded fruit, growing up and increasing. Some produced thirty times, some sixty times, and some one hundred times as much." 9 He said, "Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear."

Check out this order for a change.
Luke is cryptic in the bold part, and Mark feels the need to add the explanation. Yet Thomas merely has

9 said IS : lo-behold did he go-forth viz. he-who throw-sow
did he fill-hands he did he cast
did some(PL) Whilst fall upon the(F) path did they come viz. the(PL) bird did they gather they
some(PL) another did they fall upon the(F) Rock and not they take root downward to the earth and not they put-forth heads-of-grain upward to the(F) heaven
and some(PL) another did they fall upon the(PL) acacia (Acacia nilotica) did they choke the seed and did the worm eat they
and did some(PL) another fall upon the earth good and did he give Fruit upward to the(F) heaven good
did he come of sixty to arrow and hundred twenty to arrow

The withering away is an invention, and we have no record of anything of the parable in Marcion, only a handful of words that could apply to yet another handful of parables: viewtopic.php?p=39313#p39313

Either Mark invented the withering away, but Luke always sticks to Thomas over Mark - or Marcion did, and then Mark copies it and naturally so does Luke.
I still don't know whether Luke used Thomas or Marcion, but the answer to everything is in Thomas; Thomas is the triangular point for solving the Synoptic Problem and all of Christianity's origins

Either Mark made up the first gospel and Paul exploited that idea of Jesus dying for our sins, or Marcion made up the first gospel and he would have had none of that, of course

I don't see much of a point in Mark inventing Christianity, Marcion twisting and turning it, and then the Church stealing it back again - the fraud and forgery that is all over Christianity from the very inception alone makes it plausible that they lie about everything.
But it makes sense that Marcion had a fine religion-ish thingy, Thomas simply is too cryptic to turn into much if anything; as soon as it goes mainstream the vast majority wouldn't get anything of it, it is destined to suffer from its own success

Judaism got banned after Bar Kokhba, they needed something else so they grabbed Marcion's. And then Paul is clearly justifying the existing flock of "Gentiles" to his Judaic audience, who must have objected to their presence... as sheer arrogance world have it

Thomas
Marcion
Mark
Paul
Justin Martyr, errr I mean Matthew, who copies Marcion on the side and calls it Luke
User avatar
mlinssen
Posts: 824
Joined: Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:01 am
Location: The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: What was Marcion's Gospel?

Post by mlinssen »

I'm afraid that I've found a major flaw in my 72 logia, and that is the fact that I don't wonder about Luke deviating so strongly from Mark almost every time, because it is my working thesis that it was Luke's job to address the Thomasine audience

Mark still does show the signs of a first copier here and there, over explaining stuff, but he drops the "fast" of Luke 5:33 in his own 2:18, and likewise the "old is better" of Luke 5:39 doesn't follow on his 2:22

The fasting is due to copying Marcion viewtopic.php?p=39309#p39309 - or of course Luke copied Thomas and then Marcion copied Luke? Not highly likely.
"Old is good (xrestos)" is a Lukan invention, unattested for in Thomas or Marcion

I'm on mobile today, hard to compare everything, but I'll try to do some rework later. And boot the WEB translation, it really is not very good - but then again I wrote this paper 1.5 years ago

[Later addition]

Right. Just gonna do them one by one

45 said IS not-usually they collect grape outward in acacia (Acacia nilotica)
Nor not-usually they gather fig from leucacanthus ("thorn of camel")not-usually they give Fruit
Indeed a(n) Good-one become-man continue-to he resemble a(n) Good from his treasure
a(n) Evil-one become-man continue-to he resemble some(PL) Wicked-thing from his treasure

wickedness who/which in his heart/mind and he say of some(PL) Wicked-thing from Indeed the.greater-part of the.heart/mind continue-to he produce of some(PL) Wicked-thing


Luke 6:43 For there is no good tree that produces rotten fruit; nor again a rotten tree that produces good fruit. 44 For each tree is known by its own fruit. For people don't gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings out that which is good, and the evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings out that which is evil, for out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks.

What is this now? Luke once more turns to the literal copy of Thomas, but didn't Mark do his best to twist and turn logion 45 into original sin by leaving out the so exceptionally essential and equitable 45b? Check it out:

Mark 7:17 When he had entered into a house away from the multitude, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 He said to them, "Are you also without understanding? Don't you perceive that whatever goes into the man from outside can't defile him, 19 because it doesn't go into his heart, but into his stomach, then into the latrine, making all foods clean?"20 He said, "That which proceeds out of the man, that defiles the man. 21 For from within, out of the hearts of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, sexual sins, murders, thefts, 22 covetings, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness.

It can be argued that Mark's is more a copy of the last phrase of logion 14

he-who will go Indeed inward in your(PL.F) mouth he will defile you(r)(PL) not Rather he-who come-forth in your(PL.F) mouth he he-who will defile you(r)(PL)

but the heart and stomach and such, the entire reasoning behind the statement - that is not from logion 14 nor inspired by it

Matthew opts for an entirely different metaphor:

Matthew 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. 16 By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree produces good fruit, but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit. 18 A good tree can't produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that doesn't grow good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

It is perfectly balanced! Wow, that's exceptional.
But he gets a second chance:

Matthew 12:33 "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You offspring of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. 35 The good man out of his good treasure brings out good things, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings out evil things. 36 I tell you that every idle word that men speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

The context of chapter 7 is false prophets who can be recognised by their (bad) fruits and will be cut down and thrown into the fire at, presumably, a given point in time. There presumably are also good prophets so Matthew is in need of a comparison between good and bad - fair enough.
Matthew's rebound however comes in chapter 15 when he elaborates on his own 15:11, a literal copy of 14c which in Thomas also has no context in itself, just like 45c:

Matthew 15:10 He summoned the multitude, and said to them, "Hear, and understand. 11 That which enters into the mouth doesn't defile the man; but that which proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man."
(...)
17 Don't you understand that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the belly and then out of the body? 18 But the things which proceed out of the mouth come out of the heart, and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual sins, thefts, false testimony, and blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands doesn't defile the man."

Matthew sets the record straight, according to the Church agenda - all words that leave the mouth are evil because they come from the heart, that is all evil

This is a tie here, I think. What does Marcion have?
viewtopic.php?p=39311#p39311

That's exactly (enough) what Luke has. I think this one is undecided: Mark has enough reason to drop the stupid balanced act, and Matthew has enough reason to use it when it suits him

Next is the JtB scene, it is verbatim Thomasine and I have little to add to that - plenty of posts on that one. Logion 78 in Luke 7:24 and logion 46 in Luke 7:26. There's no Mark in either so it's not interesting anyway

The sower is in Luke 8:4 and that's been discussed

62 said IS : I say of my(PL) Mystery to they-who be-worthy of my(PL) Mystery he-who your(F) right-hand will make-be he there-is-not to-cause your(F) left-hand understand : she/r make-be they


Mark 4:10 When he was alone, those who were around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 He said to them, "To you is given the mystery of God's Kingdom, but to those who are outside, all things are done in parables, 12 that 'seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest perhaps they should turn again, and their sins should be forgiven them.'"

Luke 8:9 Then his disciples asked him, "What does this parable mean?" 10 He said, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of God's Kingdom, but to the rest in parables; that 'seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.'

Note the plural in Luke which is Thomasine, and it is unlikely that Mark would make it singular and Luke would revert to the plural again. Nothing in Marcion, alas

One of the greatest jokes in Thomas, completely misunderstood - and a very great hint at the provenance of the gospels

33 said IS he-who you will hear as-regards he in your ear in the other ear proclaim within he from-upon your(PL.PL) roof
not-usually anyone Indeed ignite candlestick and/or he place he toward ear
Nor not-usually he place he in place he been-hidden
Rather continue-to he place he from-upon the(F) Lampstand in-order-that every-one who/which go-inward and who/which about-to-come outward they will behold to his light


Mark 4:21 He said to them, "Is the lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Isn't it put on a stand?

Luke 8:16 "No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a container, or puts it under a bed; but puts it on a stand, that those who enter in may see the light.

Matthew 5:15 Neither do you light a lamp and put it under a measuring basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house.

You don't light a lamp and then hold it to your ear: to your eye, ya dummy! It is hilarious, but they didn't get it. The Coptic word is ⲙⲁⲁϫⲉ, https://coptic-dictionary.org/results.c ... e&lang=any

And as you can see it is a homonym, meaning either ear or 'a measure'. I'm quite familiar with Crum now and he has easily over a dozen words that could mean measure but which get a question mark behind them because he's unsure. I guess he didn't have a sense of humour either

Now it gets interesting, because the word in the Synoptics is a Latin loanword, modius.

Luke 8:16 Οὐδεὶς (No one) δὲ (now) λύχνον (a lamp) ἅψας (having lighted), καλύπτει (covers) αὐτὸν (it) σκεύει (with a vessel), ἢ (or) ὑποκάτω (under) κλίνης (a bed) τίθησιν (puts it)

Mark 4:21 Καὶ (And) ἔλεγεν (He was saying) αὐτοῖς (to them) 〈ὅτι〉 (-), “Μήτι (Not) ἔρχεται (is brought in) ὁ (the) λύχνος (lamp) ἵνα (so that) ὑπὸ (under) τὸν (the) μόδιον (basket) τεθῇ (it might be put), ἢ (or) ὑπὸ (under) τὴν (the) κλίνην (bed)?

Matthew 5:15 οὐδὲ (Nor) καίουσιν (do they light) λύχνον (a lamp) καὶ (and) τιθέασιν (put) αὐτὸν (it) ὑπὸ (under) τὸν (-) μόδιον (a basket), ἀλλ’ (but) ἐπὶ (upon) τὴν (the) λυχνίαν (lampstand), καὶ (and) λάμπει (it shines) πᾶσιν (for all) τοῖς (those) ἐν (in) τῇ (the) οἰκίᾳ (house).

A modius (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... try=modius) can hold 8.5 litres of grain - and Luke has σκεύει (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/mor ... skeu%3Dos0) - a thingy, so to say: a vessel or implement of any kind, Ar., Thuc., etc.:—pl. in collective sense, furniture, house-gear, utensils, chattels

The only residue from Marcion that we have is καλύπτει, "covers". So Marcion also didn't get it - but it is very plausible that he had σκεύει and that Luke just copied it, whereas Mark and Matthew, being written by Romans, inserted the Roman loanword because it's not a very helpful word.
The exact same will happen with yet another Coptic homonym, https://coptic-dictionary.org/entry.cgi?tla=C5883

This is an even more extraordinary word as it's technically not a homonym but simply can have two entirely different meanings: summer, and tax. Logion 100, of course.
Matthew 22:17 uses κῆνσον, the Greek loanword for the Roman census. Mark 4:14 does the same. Luke 20:22?

φόρον, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... 3Dfo%2Fros

Marcion has the scene but we don't have the word, yet I'm willing to bet a limb or two in what it said

I think we have a pretty decent reasonable doubt here. What say you?
Last edited by mlinssen on Sun May 16, 2021 7:47 am, edited 4 times in total.
davidmartin
Posts: 800
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:51 pm

Re: What was Marcion's Gospel?

Post by davidmartin »

Someone on here managed to convince me Mark knew Paul's gospel and that seeded a theory
In no way does Mark really line up with Paul's gospel perfectly but we can also suspect Paul's churches split into groups or broke away from him
Maybe Mark could be placed here somewhere? A pure Paul gospel has no gospel Jesus, period "He came, he was crucified" that's all you need to know

The lack of birth narrative in Mark fits perfectly with Paul and with Marcion. Neither place significance on his birth and he may as well have appeared one day out of nowhere.

But a Luke minus the birth narrative - isn't that almost identical to Mark to all intents and purposes???
If Marcion needed a gospel maybe he wanted one no-one else was using even if Mark was available, but again if Mark originated in a breakaway from Paul why should we expect a guy promoting Paul's writings to want anything to do with Mark?
If there's anything to this, subtle differences between Luke and Mark could extrapolate into the differences between those that used Luke and Mark and opposed each other (only of course decades later to be united under the 4 gospel rule and all these past divisions forgotten by order of the bishop)
User avatar
Peter Kirby
Site Admin
Posts: 5604
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:13 pm
Location: Santa Clara
Contact:

Re: What was Marcion's Gospel?

Post by Peter Kirby »

davidmartin wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 5:00 am But a Luke minus the birth narrative - isn't that almost identical to Mark to all intents and purposes???
There is a long section of Luke that is almost entirely absent from Mark, starting from Luke 9:51.

The comments of Tertullian and especially Epiphanius tend to imply that the text contained the section... in that they cover the section.

If we consider that section to be absent from Marcion's Gospel, then we would conclude that Tertullian and Epiphanius are highly unreliable as guides to the exact text of Marcion's Gospel. Tertullian himself seldom claims to have pointed out any differences between the canonical text and Marcion's, so it would be possible that Tertullian would be commenting on a form of the Gospel of Luke of which he was aware, with only second-hand knowledge of the special features of Marcion's Gospel, such as that famous opening line. Epiphanius would have to be considered a bit of a liar, having gathered his notes at second hand from other literature and inventing the idea that he had compared the texts themselves.

Most work on Marcion's Gospel is based on the presupposition of accuracy from Epiphanius & Tertullian and a text that is very much like Luke.
Ken Olson
Posts: 476
Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 9:26 am

Re: What was Marcion's Gospel?

Post by Ken Olson »

Peter Kirby wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 5:14 am There is a long section of Luke that is almost entirely absent from Mark, starting from Luke 9:51.

The comments of Tertullian and especially Epiphanius tend to imply that the text contained the section... in that they cover the section.
Peter,

I have never heard this before. Can you cite the places where Tertullian and Epiphanius imply that the text [of Luke or Marcion?] contain Mark's Bethsaida section/Luke's great omission? Or have I misunderstood what you are saying?

If we consider that section to be absent from Marcion's Gospel, then we would conclude that Tertullian and Epiphanius are highly unreliable as guides to the exact text of Marcion's Gospel. Tertullian himself seldom claims to have pointed out any differences between the canonical text and Marcion's, so it would be possible that Tertullian would be commenting on a form of the Gospel of Luke of which he was aware, with only second-hand knowledge of the special features of Marcion's Gospel, such as that famous opening line. Epiphanius would have to be considered a bit of a liar, having gathered his notes at second hand from other literature and inventing the idea that he had compared the texts themselves.

Most work on Marcion's Gospel is based on the presupposition of accuracy from Epiphanius & Tertullian and a text that is very much like Luke.
If we can't reconstruct Marcion's Gospel from Epiphanius and Tertullian's testimony, how can we reconstruct it? If we don't use Tertullian or Epiphanius, don't we just have to say we don't know what Marcion's gospel looked like?

Thanks

Ken
User avatar
Peter Kirby
Site Admin
Posts: 5604
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:13 pm
Location: Santa Clara
Contact:

Re: What was Marcion's Gospel?

Post by Peter Kirby »

Ken Olson wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 6:11 am
Peter Kirby wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 5:14 am There is a long section of Luke that is almost entirely absent from Mark, starting from Luke 9:51.

The comments of Tertullian and especially Epiphanius tend to imply that the text contained the section... in that they cover the section.
Peter,

I have never heard this before. Can you cite the places where Tertullian and Epiphanius imply that the text [of Luke or Marcion?] contain Mark's Bethsaida section/Luke's great omission? Or have I misunderstood what you are saying?
I'm not talking about Mark 6:45-8:26.

I referred to the section of Luke, starting from Luke 9:51 (to chapter 18), that is mostly absent from Mark.
Ken Olson wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 6:11 am If we can't reconstruct Marcion's Gospel from Epiphanius and Tertullian's testimony, how can we reconstruct it? If we don't use Tertullian or Epiphanius, don't we just have to say we don't know what Marcion's gospel looked like?
Maybe?
User avatar
mlinssen
Posts: 824
Joined: Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:01 am
Location: The Netherlands
Contact:

Re: What was Marcion's Gospel?

Post by mlinssen »

I'm done for the day, it's a lot of work this way

I've convinced myself that Marcion - Luke - Mark certainly deserves some further research, there are some very interesting points where Mark and Matthew agree against Luke

It could be that Matthew indeed just copied Luke from Marcion while writing his gospel, and only checked for things that shouldn't be said - and when writing his own, while relying on Luke for a great part, really weighed every single word and followed Mark where he could or wanted

It's all very difficult LOL, but only going by every literal word can get us somewhere.
The two Latin loanwords in the place for the Coptic homonym are a very peculiar case, and Luke disagreeing against both Mark and Matthew there is at the very least telling us that his source was something quite different
Last edited by mlinssen on Sun May 16, 2021 7:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
Post Reply