What was Marcion's Gospel?

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

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

lclapshaw
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Re: What was Marcion's Gospel?

Post by lclapshaw »

Secret Alias wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 9:25 am Thanks for restating the obvious. You forgot to add, the sky is blue.
Well, it seems to me that the obvious needs to be restated every once and a while. We go on as if we actually have something solid to go off of when this is not the reality.

Oh yeah, "the sky is blue".
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mlinssen
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Re: What was Marcion's Gospel?

Post by mlinssen »

Irish1975 wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 9:50 am If we compare the situation of Q with that of the Marcionite Gospel, it seems we have a better sense of what the content of the former would have been, had it existed, and we have reason to think that it didn’t (Goodacre, etc.). Whereas with the MG, there seems to be little doubt that it existed, but more uncertainty about its content.
That is a very astute comment really - but I disagree with half of it

Q is entirely made up, its existence as well as its content, whereas we are more than certain enough that Marcion looked an awful lot like Luke

So I think that we can have some fairly good shots at it, and one of those is that we would be looking at Marcion in Luke where we find Luke disagreeing against Mark and Matthew on minor points where he agrees on the major ones - so the two examples of the "vessel covering the lamp" and the "tribute to Caesar" in my long post on page 1 are eligible, I think
davidmartin
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Re: What was Marcion's Gospel?

Post by davidmartin »

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?

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
But do those extra verses in Luke add anything substantive? Theologically, historically, in terms of relation to prophecy or any other meaningful point
What i'm asking is if this proto-Luke really differs in a meaningful way from Mark
If the answer is, that a Luke without the birth narrative doesn't have any meaningful difference to Mark the question is why would an earlier Luke have ever been written?
If it were simply to update the style, freshen it. That's an answer sure, it might not need a grand point of difference, the motivations could be trivial
Or there could be some difference lurking to separate it from a church that favoured Mark
That's the stuff that interests me I guess not so much the minutiae of it, although it could be that minutiae that are all important
Ken Olson
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Re: What was Marcion's Gospel?

Post by Ken Olson »

davidmartin wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 1:26 am But do those extra verses in Luke add anything substantive? Theologically, historically, in terms of relation to prophecy or any other meaningful point
What i'm asking is if this proto-Luke really differs in a meaningful way from Mark
If the answer is, that a Luke without the birth narrative doesn't have any meaningful difference to Mark the question is why would an earlier Luke have ever been written?
If it were simply to update the style, freshen it. That's an answer sure, it might not need a grand point of difference, the motivations could be trivial
Or there could be some difference lurking to separate it from a church that favoured Mark
That's the stuff that interests me I guess not so much the minutiae of it, although it could be that minutiae that are all important
If you read Peter's reply and my response (and acknowledgment that I had misread him), you'll see Peter was referring to Luke's Central Section (Luke 9.51-19.28). This contains 9 full chapters out of Luke's 24 and a little over 400 verses of Luke's 1151 (cf. Mark's 678), to which Marcion's Evangelion appears to have many parallels if we accept the testimony of Tertullian and Epiphanius as a basis for reconstructing its text. If the question we're asking is whether Marcion's Evangelion or its hypothetical pre-Lukan source is more like Mark or more like Luke, that has to be very significant), especially if we also include the material from Luke's lesser insertion (Luke 6.20-8.3) and the post-resurrection appearances in Luke 24. If we're asking questions about or trying to establish the literary relationships (i.e., the existence of and order of literary dependence) among Mark, Luke, the Evangelion and the hypothesized early form of Luke, these things must also play a significant role.

I can see how someone might well think that none of the early Christian literature is particularly substantive or meaningful in the grand scheme of things or to their own lives, but since this is the Christian Texts and History forum, such things are presumed to be important to the stuff we discuss here.

Best,

Ken
Last edited by Ken Olson on Mon May 17, 2021 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Irish1975
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Re: What was Marcion's Gospel?

Post by Irish1975 »

mlinssen wrote: Sun May 16, 2021 10:23 am Q is entirely made up, its existence as well as its content
It depends what you mean by “entirely made up.” The Q theorists drew from canonical material, so to that extent it wasn’t “made up.” The problem with Q is that we have no ancient witnesses to the fact of its existence, right? It would be one thing if Eusebius or Jerome had mentioned a Logia Gospel or something like it, but we don’t (so I am told). All we can rely on are 19th/20th century Questers and their hypotheses about how the Gospels must have been produced. Scholars were highly confident about those hypotheses until they weren’t.

Some kind of anthology of the best scholarship on the Marcionite Gospel would be a useful thing.
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Irish1975
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Re: What was Marcion's Gospel?

Post by Irish1975 »

A related question: did Marcion invent the title “New Testament” and append it to his collection? BeDuhn and a few others have asserted this, although there seems to be little evidence, or even an argument. No title page either for Marcion’s collection (for which we do have “Euangelion” and “Apostolikon”) or the canonical NT has survived.

Trobisch argues that it was the canonical editor who invented that title (First Edition of the NT). First, he points to Melito of Sardis and a certain anti-Montanist cited in Eusebius—two of the earliest witnesses to the canonical Bible—as being late 2nd century witnesses to the Old Testament/New Testament terminology (i.e., not the scriptural origins for those phrases, but their Christian use as literary titles). Second, because Marcion did not produce a Christian edition of the OT and was by all accounts hostile to the idea of Torah as divine revelation, it makes little sense that he would have chosen “New Testament” for his scriptural anthology. The title implicitly acknowledges and thus legitimizes the idea of an Old Testament.
StephenGoranson
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Re: What was Marcion's Gospel?

Post by StephenGoranson »

On “The title implicitly acknowledges and thus legitimizes the idea of an Old Testament.”

Without proposing any insight now on Marcion, I note that supercessionists may use the term “Old Testament” without according it great value.
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Secret Alias
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Re: What was Marcion's Gospel?

Post by Secret Alias »

The question - as always - is whether Judaism and/or Samaritanism understood the Ten Utterances to be permanently binding and/or have authority over humanity at large or only the portion rescued from Egypt. People don't think through these matters. Would a converso to Christianity c. 100 CE seeing or hearing about the destruction of the temple and recognizing that the Pentateuch is largely based on animal slaughter have conceived of someway to reconcile 'the old testament' with his new life as an adherent to the god of Israel. I don't see how this was possible. But then again I lack intelligence.

As such, when we confront a figure like Marcion who in some form accepts that the 'old testament' predicts a messiah in the 'Jewish fashion' but says that Jesus was something different it is difficult for me not to conceive of Marcion as more legitimate, more in keeping with early Christianity than let's say the Acts of the Apostles. Acts presents a version of Judaism that did not exist between 70 - 125 CE.

So 'orthodox Christianity' doesn't generally distinguish between the Ten Utterances and the laws of animal slaughter (i.e. the ten commandments and the Pentateuch) and thus testifies to its late origin - i.e. from a period where Jews and Samaritans were estranged and when the differences between the ten commandments and the laws of animal slaughter were ignored, misunderstood or obscured. This could not have been representative of Judaism in the period immediately following the destruction of the temple. It couldn't. Marcion's interest in these things effectively proves his antiquity and at the same time explains why Marcionism seemed antiquated c. 180 CE when orthodox Christianity took over. There were no Jews like those which Marcion opposed. The critique of Judaism seemed outdated.
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Irish1975
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Re: What was Marcion's Gospel?

Post by Irish1975 »

StephenGoranson wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 7:48 am On “The title implicitly acknowledges and thus legitimizes the idea of an Old Testament.”

Without proposing any insight now on Marcion, I note that supercessionists may use the term “Old Testament” without according it great value.
How does this relate to the time when the Christian Bible was still in the process of establishing itself?

Supersessionism as a word (coined in 1870?) and a concept appears to be a topic of modern theology. Modern theologians look back at the Reformers, Aquinas, the Church fathers, or Paul, or what have you, and raise the question "is this supersessionist? in what sense?" In such a context, the term "Old Testament" refers to a long established Christian Bible.

I suppose one could say that the Christian Bible itself is (overtly, necessarily) supersessionist, since the New Testament "sits on top of" the Old Testament both in a literal, physical way, and in the hermeneutic sense: for Christianity, the meaning and authority of the OT is constrained by the meaning and authority of the NT. But such a definition of supersessionist would be superfluous because it would apply to all Christians by definition.
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Secret Alias
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Re: What was Marcion's Gospel?

Post by Secret Alias »

The point here is that 'Judaism' as it is known today is essentially post-Christian. It is Judaism as defined against Christian beliefs regarding a second god of Israel. As such there are going to be differences between Christian and Jewish relations at the time of Marcion and Christian and Jewish relations after the Mishnah or Talmud.
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