Paul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
davidmartin
Posts: 1556
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:51 pm

Re: Paul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Post by davidmartin »

RandyHelzerman wrote: Wed Nov 01, 2023 2:01 pm As Iclapshaw and I were discussing on another thread, even in the Marcionite cannon, there is at least one pseudonymous letter II Thes., which itself warns against fake letters from Paul. At the very least, there were fake letters from Paul floating around when Marcion put his cannon together, and its not that much of a stretch to imagine that II Thes was added to an already pre-exiting canon, or even that there were alternate collections of Paul's letters which also had pseudonymous letters.

Another line of evidence is that Marcion's recension of Paul's letters does a remarkably bad job of supporting Marcion's theology. Critics from Tertullian on out have found plenty in it which they thought refuted Marcion, and they had a point. I interpret this as Marcion adopting a pre-existing letter collection, which was already revered enough that Marcion wouldn't make too many changes to it, since if he were making it all up he certainly could have done a better job of it.
Can it be said the canonical collection we have seems to contain Marcionite readings?
Maybe even if there were earlier versions in the nascent orthodoxy they'd find it hard to impose what was being circulated around and used, this is what emerged. If it derived from Marcion's edition it makes the Paul corner of the church seem not 'in charge'. Cause there's plenty of early writings around that don't know anything Pauline, would be good to collect them up to see how they stack up against each other

EG The Preaching of Peter
in the Preaching of Peter the Lord says: I chose out you twelve, judging you to be disciples worthy of me, whom the Lord willed, and thinking you faithful apostles; sending you unto the world to preach the Gospel to men throughout the world, that they should know that there is one God
Paul - missing, the 12 preach to the gentiles
Acts - don't know the epistles
Gospels - don't line up too well with the epistles
Revelation / James - seem anti-Pauline
Shepherd of Hermas - doesn't know Paul and this is big
Justin - seems not to know him
RandyHelzerman
Posts: 349
Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2023 10:31 am

Re: Paul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Post by RandyHelzerman »

davidmartin wrote: Wed Nov 01, 2023 11:43 pm Can it be said the canonical collection we have seems to contain Marcionite readings?
Sure. 2 Cor 4:4 "The god of this world has blinded the mind of the unbelievers..." Everything you need for any kind of dualism. Qualifying the god as being the god of this world has the conversational implicature that there is another god from outside this world. "Blinds the minds of the unbelievers" --there you go, we're living in the matrix. The world is an illusion, designed to trap us in ignorance...j

The NT has enough in there for anybody, who feels alienated and trapped, to reconstruct dualism, which is probably why gnosticism of one form or another just keeps popping up again and again in history.
Maybe even if there were earlier versions in the nascent orthodoxy they'd find it hard to impose what was being circulated around and used, this is what emerged. If it derived from Marcion's edition it makes the Paul corner of the church seem not 'in charge'. Cause there's plenty of early writings around that don't know anything Pauline, would be good to collect them up to see how they stack up against each other
Sorry, didn't quite get that?
davidmartin
Posts: 1556
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:51 pm

Re: Paul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Post by davidmartin »

hmm ok what i meant was the idea is Marcion gets to edit and publish his canon which then ends up being accepted into the orthodox canon
if Paul's writings were revered and copied all over I don't see how this could happen

but it could if his writings were not revered and copied all over and that does seem to be the case to me and only Marcion's canon was doing the rounds
this is evidenced by all the other early texts that don't mention Paul! There's whole churches that don't seem to have heard of him
I read once that in Syria followers of Paul were called Paulinites by other orthodox Christians

All these other major non-Paul groups are around so how come Paul is thought to be the originator or founder of it? I don't think he was. He's some offshoot of something that already existed. Thus mining the epistles and trying to track down the earlier version is useful but Paul kind of disappears we're not interested in him only what he can tell us about the earlier version.
RandyHelzerman
Posts: 349
Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2023 10:31 am

Re: Paul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Post by RandyHelzerman »

davidmartin wrote: Thu Nov 02, 2023 7:21 am if Paul's writings were revered and copied all over I don't see how this could happen
Sure. But what we see is that Paul *wasn't* revered and copied *all* over. Justin Martyr, for example, is exhibit A for this. He railed against Marcion, but he never quotes from Paul, or even gives any indication that he knows that Paul or his letters even exist at all. Quotations from Paul in the church Fathers show up rather late. He wasn't universally known, and his writings were not universally taken as scripture, for a long time.
but it could if his writings were not revered and copied all over and that does seem to be the case to me and only Marcion's canon was doing the rounds
Well, there are two facts which need explaining, and since they tug in opposite directions, its hard to explain them ;-)

1. You can pick and choose bits of Paul to support a Marcionite reading
2. You can pick and choose bits of Paul to *refute* a Marcionite reading

I.e. I Cor 4:4 seems to imply the existence of two gods, but its an implication, not an explicit statement. There are plenty of passages in Paul--even in the version of the letters Marcion had of them--which say good things about the Law, and where Paul argues from the OT and obviously considers it authoritative.

So what gives? The answer which seems most probable to me is that Marcion *didn't* create the Pauline letter collection, he got it the same way we did, i.e. somebody gave him a copy of them. When he read them, the bits which supported dualism seemed to resonate better with the situation he found himself in (he came of age during the Bar Kochva revolt) so that's what he went with.
this is evidenced by all the other early texts that don't mention Paul! There's whole churches that don't seem to have heard of him
I read once that in Syria followers of Paul were called Paulinites by other orthodox Christians
Right. But the Roman empire was a pretty big place. A couple of centuries later, Constantine would build Constantinople right next door to Pontus, and it would be the center of the Roman world, but during Marcion's lifetime it was quite remote--see Tertulian's descriptions of how barbarous it was :-) He says everybody there lives a nomadic life, they have no buildings or civilization at all, women hang battle axes from their naked breasts, etc etc. He couldn't have gotten away with such ludicrous rhetoric if anybody on his side of the empire really knew much about what things were like in Asia Minor.

So it is possible for both things to be true: 1) nobody outside of Asia Minor or Syria had heard of Paul, and 2) inside of Asia Minor and Syria, a pauline letter collection was circulating and evolving, perhaps even with multiple different versions.

Marcion certainly pushed the issue, when he traveled to Rome bearing his collection. And when those letters finally did show up in the Latin western half of the Empire, they were the only writings even purporting to be from somebody who actually saw the risen Jesus with his own eyes, and the fact that they never made any mention of the destruction of the Temple made them appear to be very old, so the rest of Christianity couldn't really bring themselves to ignore it; they had to come to some kind of accommodation with it.
or founder of it? I don't think he was. He's some offshoot of something that already existed.
But remember just how spectacularly *diverse* christianity was at the time! It's not an exaggeration to say that *every* branch of christianity at the time was some offshoot. Justin Martyr thought he had received THE TRUTH, but the proto orthodox eventually rejected some of his doctrines as being heretical. It was a looong time before the council of Nicaea, and everybody was still trying to figure out this whole jesus thing. Indeed, they still haven't, and Christianity is still quite diverse, even today.
ebion
Posts: 396
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2023 11:32 am

Re: Paul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Post by ebion »

MrMacSon wrote: Sun Feb 14, 2021 2:28 pm As would be the case for the written arguments of the Dutch Radicals starting with Allard Pierson, who denied Pauline authorship of Galatians. He was fiercely attacked by his colleague Abraham Dirk Loman, but two years later Loman had also abandoned the historicity of Paul. Similarly, Willem Christiaan van Manen, who had written a doctoral thesis defending the authenticity of 1 Thessalonians, wrote in 1889 that he had come to the same conclusions as Loman.
MrMacSon, you know the Dutch Radicals better than I: would you agree with my statement above?
I don't know where Valentinians are in anything I've ever written; I only want to know if that verse in 1Cor. shows that someone other than Paul authored it, and Detering and I say that is certain.
davidmartin
Posts: 1556
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:51 pm

Re: Paul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Post by davidmartin »

RandyHelzerman wrote: Thu Nov 02, 2023 8:58 am women hang battle axes from their naked breasts
Sounds like a good first line for a book!
RandyHelzerman wrote: Thu Nov 02, 2023 8:58 am Marcion certainly pushed the issue, when he traveled to Rome bearing his collection
which is why i find the epistle to the Romans suspicious. Curious parallel to Marcion here
RandyHelzerman wrote: Thu Nov 02, 2023 8:58 am But remember just how spectacularly *diverse* christianity was at the time! It's not an exaggeration to say that *every* branch of christianity at the time was some offshoot. Justin Martyr thought he had received THE TRUTH, but the proto orthodox eventually rejected some of his doctrines as being heretical. It was a looong time before the council of Nicaea, and everybody was still trying to figure out this whole jesus thing. Indeed, they still haven't, and Christianity is still quite diverse, even today.
Agreed on the trying to figure it out, but surely someone at the start knew everything. It feels like there was a disconnect and a scrabbling around to try and put the pieces together. It's why I like the Odes, really its the only credible writing there is that conceivably could point back to that, the only problem is its relatively mystical. The trend on the forum is I guess there's no historical basis for the Jesus story but what if there was
RandyHelzerman
Posts: 349
Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2023 10:31 am

Re: Paul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Post by RandyHelzerman »

davidmartin wrote: Thu Nov 02, 2023 3:01 pm Sounds like a good first line for a book!
*chuckle* if I have to have that mental image in my head, so do you :-)
which is why i find the epistle to the Romans suspicious. Curious parallel to Marcion here
With multiple parallel points; Paul and Marcion both come bearing gifts meant to reconcile two factions of Christianity....
Agreed on the trying to figure it out, but surely someone at the start knew everything.
But perhaps "everything" was just those parts of Christianity which all factions do agree on? e.g. the golden rule, be more righteous than any joe off the street, include the poor and other marginalized people as much as you can... there is actually a lot which every known branch of Christianity has in common. Its just that we tend to focus on our differences.
It's why I like the Odes, really its the only credible writing there is that conceivably could point back to that, the only problem is its relatively mystical.
Yeah, well, there you go.....lets stipulate for sake of argument, that the odes are a genuine piece of tradition going all the way back. They are great to read aloud on Mt Olives, in the summer of love in 29 AD. But once the sheep are scattered, how much help are they really?

1. It's mystical, surely people will come up with different interpretations. Which one is true, or are they all true?
2. Should we eat meat sacrificed to idols?
3. How much of the Torah still applies to us?
4. Do Gentiles have to become Jews, or is there an "entry level" tier for them?
5. Is it talking allegorically about a human Jesus, or literally about a spirit Jesus? (see #1)
6. Is Jesus God? I thought there was only one God....how many are there really?
7. Some guy claiming to be an apostle has been eating off of us for 3 weeks now. When can I kick him out?
8. What should our church organization be like?
9. What should our church service look like? Do we have a communion service? Do we let non-members participate?
10. Do we baptize? If so, do we baptize for the dead?
11. What does resurrection look like? Do we get our same bodies, or is it a spirit resurrection?
etc etc.

Say you've fled Judea (fortunately you were able to take your precious copy of the odes with you) and gone to Alexandria, and want to spread the good news. people are going to ask you these questions, and what do you tell them? If it were me, I'd say IDK, we're all still just trying to figure this out ourselves, what do you think? Lets talk and pray about it, and try out some stuff and see how it works.... but that's just me :-) Surely somebody like Peter or Paul would eventually come along, claiming to have seen Jesus and gotten filled on the details. I'd be happy to listen to them, but lets face it, even those guys are only going to have so much, and worse, they all have their own take, which contradicts the other guy's take...
It feels like there was a disconnect and a scrabbling around to try and put the pieces together. The trend on the forum is I guess there's no historical basis for the Jesus story but what if there was
I think Jesus mythicism is the original sin of new atheism. And is a great example of how disciples get the teachers wrong...most founding figures in the movement are careful to qualify the claim to something like "if there was a historical Jesus, there's almost nothing we can say about him" but "JESUS IS A MYTH!!" is better clickbait.

Certainly, the more I've investigated, the further the historical Jesus seems to recede. But absence of evidence is, well, absence of evidence, so it seems to me that being agnostic on the subject is a more probative position. But we do have a metric boatload of literature, all of it astounding, to study, and we do have plenty of Christians around who claim Jesus still plays a big part in their lives, and a lot of history to see how both of those things have really shaken out over the ages. If there was a Jesus, perhaps this is exactly how he wanted it to turn out. And if there still *is* a Jesus, well, he's had ample opportunity intervene, so we have to conclude that this actually *is* exactly how he wants it.
davidmartin
Posts: 1556
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:51 pm

Re: Paul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Post by davidmartin »

ah you have identified the exact issues faced when working with the odes and the kind of answers we'd like. they do imply there was a 'faith' and 'mystery' worked out to go along with it and a passing on of a teaching. the author is clearly having to defend their authority against others with alternative views which are even harder to guess at but there is things to go on to reconstruct it, admittedly a lot is unclear

For example the realised eschatology has it that the messiah's 'flood' has already inundated the whole world and is bringing world peace, has destroyed Sheol and death already, no second coming needed. Job done. So where does that leave the other religions? They were still around. Did they think he was the messiah of all of them given they are basically similar or would his faith grow to replace them? Normally that would be a dumb question but the vagueness of the Odes invites speculation on universalism. If so the apparent openness to gentiles in the epistles was a feature already and if anything they narrow things down, and this would nullify the idea of any "Jerusalem apostles" requiring literal Torah observance. It's a completely upside down theory i'm just following the thought experiment of plonking the Odes at the top of the tree
andrewcriddle
Posts: 2780
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 12:36 am

Re: Are Faul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Post by andrewcriddle »

ebion wrote: Wed Nov 01, 2023 5:25 am Red Herrings?
andrewcriddle wrote: Tue Oct 31, 2023 10:43 pm You seem to be arguing that
a/ the verse refers to one human being baptized on behalf of another (dead) human
Yes - absolutely; I'm quoting scripture! I don't know how else you would read the words "which are baptized for the dead"
Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? (I Corinthians 15:29 [KJV])
For a list of possible alternatives see https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/ ... frontcover
ebion wrote: Wed Nov 01, 2023 5:25 am You're misquoting me:
andrewcriddle wrote: Tue Oct 31, 2023 10:43 pm b/ that such practices were impossible in the1st century CE
I said "​There is absolutely no way proxy baptism could be in a pre-60 AD story line, no matter when it was written." (~60+/-5 for the death of Paul) The rite of baptism were still being formed then.
I'm sorry I should have said that such practices were impossible in the lifetime of Paul but I don't see why you are so definite here. If, as you believe such vicarious baptism developed c 150 CE I'm unclear why it is impossible c 50 CE.
ebion wrote: Wed Nov 01, 2023 5:25 am
andrewcriddle wrote: Tue Oct 31, 2023 10:43 pm c/ that early Marcionites had such a practice.
I'm following Detering in the reference I cited, and you provide nothing to contradict him:
Proxy baptism for the dead has not been confirmed earlier than among the Marcionites in the second century.
What Detering said is not evidence, the 2nd century Marcionites may have had such a practice but the earliest unambiguous evidence is much later.
ebion wrote: Wed Nov 01, 2023 5:25 am For my purposes, all that matters is that I am ascribing it to someone other than Paul, and hence ascribing the authorship of the Paulines to someone other than Paul. I ascribe them to Faul: False Paul aka MarcionOrLater.
andrewcriddle wrote: Tue Oct 31, 2023 10:43 pm Additionally it seems unlikely that early Valentinians like Theodotus were using a Marcionite text of Paul.
I don't know where Valentinians are in anything I've ever written; I only want to know if that verse in 1Cor. shows that someone other than Paul authored it, and Detering and I say that is certain.
The early Valentinians (mid 2nd century CE) had a text of 1 Corinthians with this verse. It is IMO unlikely that their text is dependent on Marcion.

Andrew Criddle
ebion
Posts: 396
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2023 11:32 am

Re: Are Faul's letters all derived from Marcion?

Post by ebion »

andrewcriddle wrote: Sat Nov 04, 2023 5:14 am
ebion wrote: Wed Nov 01, 2023 5:25 am I said "​There is absolutely no way proxy baptism could be in a pre-60 AD story line, no matter when it was written." (~60+/-5 for the death of Paul) The rite of baptism were still being formed then.
I'm sorry I should have said that such practices were impossible in the lifetime of Paul but I don't see why you are so definite here. If, as you believe such vicarious baptism developed c 150 CE I'm unclear why it is impossible c 50 CE.
The rite of baptism were still being formed then, and there's no mention of it in the Gospels or Acts.
For the author of 1Cor. to have written about it in scripture, it would have had to be a well established practice.
andrewcriddle wrote: Sat Nov 04, 2023 5:14 am
ebion wrote: Wed Nov 01, 2023 5:25 am I'm following Detering in the reference I cited, and you provide nothing to contradict him:
Proxy baptism for the dead has not been confirmed earlier than among the Marcionites in the second century.
What Detering said is not evidence, the 2nd century Marcionites may have had such a practice but the earliest unambiguous evidence is much later.
What you say is not evidence, but what you're saying meets my description of MarcionOrLater.

Would you agree to rephrasing Detering:
Proxy baptism for the dead has not been confirmed earlier than among the Marcionites in the second century, but the earliest unambiguous evidence is much later, i.e. the date of Marcion Or Later.
That's sufficient to my purposes: "Paul could not have written 1Cor., and it dates to MarcionOrLater."

BTW, what would you point to as the "much later unambiguous evidence"?
ebion wrote: Wed Nov 01, 2023 5:25 am For my purposes, all that matters is that I am ascribing it to someone other than Paul, and hence ascribing the authorship of the Paulines to someone other than Paul. I ascribe them to Faul: False Paul aka MarcionOrLater.
(I don't care who wrote it/them as long as it's not Paul, and is later.)
andrewcriddle wrote: Sat Nov 04, 2023 5:14 am The early Valentinians (mid 2nd century CE) had a text of 1 Corinthians with this verse. It is IMO unlikely that their text is dependent on Marcion.
As I said above, having the text isn't what is interesting to me: I'm looking for evidence of practicing the rite, and the date of practicing the rite. Applying Occam's razor, it's easiest to ascribe proxy baptism, and 1Cor., to Marcion'; I see no evidence to the contrary. FWIW I reason that the date of practicing the rite would be been when the Marcionite church (which was a big one) was well established.

Do you have a reference to the Valentinians? I will happily substitute Marcionites with Valentinians in the above if there is evidence of them practicing the rite. But AFAIK, the Valentinians never were a large international church like the Marcionites: they didn't rate 5 books out of Tertullian. And Proxy baptism for the dead smells to me of large church.

Thanks for the input and feedback; back to the OP topic at hand:
rgprice wrote: Sun Feb 14, 2021 5:51 am If this is true, then it means Marcion's letters are the authentic ones, with the possible exception of Romans, and the orthodox letters are all revisions of Marcion's.
That's the way I see it, especially if we allow that some of the letters could be MarcionOrLater.
Post Reply