I'll touch on the last part first, because I basically agree with everything you said there (and by no means am I taking it as an argument in favorite of the Christ Myth). I actually completely agree that Paul's letters should be read first in their Jewish and Greco-Roman literary/religious context, and then we can deal with the reception history and interpreters later on.
I personally don't think we should ever read Paul's letters through the Gospels (to the opposite, I think it is the other way around). I also think that any supposition that X passage is a reference to a historical Jesus requires detailed argumentation, and it is one of my biggest criticisms of historicists that they just say "this passage attests to a historical Jesus" but have no argumentation to actually back it up, and if they do it is generally weak and just copy-pasted from Tim O'Neill or Ehrman. I think historicists have been... lazy to say the least in how they treat Paul and extrabiblical sources for Jesus. I think the lazy argument for mythicists has tended to be "X is forgery" or "X is interpolation." It is also why I have a lot more respect for Doherty, though my greatest respect is still for Thomas L. Brodie.
Now from what we have, again, from unreliable narrators, is that Marcion claimed Jesus was never born at all, not even in semblance. The AoI is a strange bit, because Mary becomes physically pregnant, and then her "birthing" is just this alien "Jesus is here now". Essentially, an attempt to explain a physical birth but also have her virginity remain intact (i.e., unbroken hymen). Anyways, this is different from (what remains, again, not entirely reliably) what is said of Marcion, who has Jesus come down from heaven fully adult. His Evangelion begins with him descending from the heavens in the fifteenth year of Tiberius, while Pilate was governor. So, to have Jesus "born" (which ginomai very easily means and is used, as I found in my investigation) would be fairly contrary to his ideas... again if what we have can be trusted. Specifically, having Jesus "born of a woman, born under the law" would be doubly problematic, if Marcion's antisemitism is also accurate.
But, again, I don't think most of what we have of Marcion is reliable. I was merely pointing out that, if we are to say what is "preserved" of Marcion is reliable to the extent that we can trust reconstructions of his texts, then we should also be able to trust claims that he despised the birth of Jesus narrative, and was also anti-Judaism, which means we can think of two good motivations for him to start omitting various items. IMO, if we can trust the Church Fathers enough to reconstruct Marcion's text, but then turn around and say we cannot trust their other claims about Marcion, it seems like a "have my cake and eat it too" situation, based largely in an anti-Christian bias.
"So when one argues that Marcion "would have every reason to excise" a passage, are we not arguing the same way as others who say the orthodox would have every reason to excise a Marcionite passage?"
Definitely agree, I should have worded my retorts a bit better in this regard. Where I'm at is that interpolations are a subjective issue at best, and too often based in defective evidence, i.e., like Marcion or Church Father preservation of other sects. This is not to say there are not anti-Marcionite interpolations at all, or that interpolations do not happen. They do, but I think in these cases the evidence is just unreliable at best, which should instead make us look at different methods of interpreting the passages.
Last edited by Chris Hansen
on Mon Jun 20, 2022 5:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.