Marcion – the father of it all?

One of  the more frustrating things about having a mild interest in Christianity is that it never really is a mild interest at all, as once you pick at that scab the desire to scratch never seems to go away.

Christians of all stripes fascinate me, while at the same time I am baffled by their credulity in accepting the sheer nonsense that is the Christian Doctrine.

Even more frustrating than their gleeful acceptance of  the palpable stupidity of venerating a human sacrifices and all the garbage of penal substitution, is their willful ignorance of the history of their religion/faith, and an apparent disinclination to  really get to the bottom of it.

And worse than this – my own frustrating ignorance of that history!

However, unlike the sheep, I am inclined to get to the bottom of it. Or at least to try.

It was several years ago I came across the name Marcion and his role in the fledgling Christian church.

At this stage in my reading, the Encyclopedia merely stated that Marcion had edited the Gospel of Luke to confirm to his beliefs and included the Epistles of Paul. It did not explain much more than this, or at least I do not recall if it did, and the most significant outcome of Marcion’s Gospel was  the orthodox church of the day was spurred on to put out its own ”official” version.

I accepted this – it being the Encyclopedia – but there were one or two little nagging doubts that simply would not float to the surface.

But as I read more and became more familiar with views that were not quite so ”official” I was able to frame questions that I was unable to when I  first read about Marcion.

Questions such as: Why would Marcion use only Luke and why did he not touch Acts?

Later, I discovered that it was Marcion who apparently collected all the Epistles of Paul and handed them over/bequeathed(?) them to the church.

This raised more questions: How come  he was the one who ”found”  Paul’s epistles? Where did he find them?

I was then able to build upon the nagging doubt I had initially.

Why didn’t the orthodox church have its own bible before Marcion?

Which eventually led to this thought: I’ll bet it was Marcion who wrote Luke and the Epistles and the church nicked them and expanded them.

Of course this flew in the face of the accepted scholarly view and it was not something I pursued.

Then, the other day I came across a piece of writing that expressed similar thoughts. In fact it is a belief held by a number of scholars who, unlike me have plenty of what we might call ”Street Cred.”

The belief being that, Marcion’s gospel was the precursor to the gospels and the New Testament. To my mind this makes much more sense.

So does the idea that the Church took Marcion’s Gospel of the Lord, expanded it, included the Epistles, and added Acts, declared Marcion a heretic and Marcionism a heresy.

Here are a few links you might like to read.

 

https://www.westarinstitute.org/blog/marcion-forgotten-father-inventor-new-testament/

 

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread1149497/pg1

 

http://www.marcionite-scripture.info/Marcionite_Bible.htm

 

https://sites.google.com/site/inglisonmarcion/Home/marcion/conclusions

 

And if you want to add to this or come up with anything else, feel free to jump in an get your feet wet.

 

Ark.

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76 comments

    • Very true.
      The big diference; science is usually willing to change its views, encouraging prevailing thought to be knocked down.
      Religion generally lies through its teeth and does everything it can to hide and obfuscate.

      Liked by 2 people

        • Agreed . I see no honest answer other than admit their own credulity.
          Every religious deconvert has faced this scenario in one form or another.
          Admitting one has been made a fool of, and lived a lie for goodness knows how long must be a terribly difficult pill to swallow.
          Some simply refuse to and find it easier to live the lie.
          This would drive me completely round the bend.
          But then, I was never indoctrinated in such nonsense in the first place.

          Liked by 2 people

          • It is amazing, really, that all one needs is the answer to one simple question: does any of this seem in the least bit credible even under superficial examination? Yet that question is avoided like poison.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Apologetics were devised specifically to answer such questions.
            Granted, the answers are all superficial, but then, it is with the already indoctrinated in mind that apologetics is promoted.
            Fortunately, some little fishes slip through the net!

            Liked by 1 person

          • On the other side of the coin, I have recently noticed that even outside fields of religion there are some people who will go to all lengths to disprove something even though the evidence is plain.

            Liked by 1 person

    • It really is fascinating what one comes up with.
      Of course, so many apologists are aware of many historic details that fly in the face of accepted doctrine.

      When one views such details in isolation the currently accepted answers might seem reasonable, but when one takes everything we know into consideration, the biblical glosses, outright forgeries, the standard view always comes across as forced, as if those with the ‘bigger stick” were obliged to force through their beliefs simply to maintain their power base.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Are you aware of Tertullian’s “Against Marcion” writings? Here is a pdf that might interest you. Apparently, Marcion leaned towards the existence of two gods (good & evil?).

    http://www.ntslibrary.com/PDF%20Books/TERTULLIAN%20Five%20Books%20Against%20Marcion.pdf

    When I was doing research for my book, I came across some info on Marcion and his writings in the rather comprehensive book, “The Crucible of Christianity: Judaism, Hellenism And The Historical,” edited by Arnold Toynbee, ©1969. The copy I have is hardback and quite large. (If I remember correctly, it wasn’t cheap.)

    Anyway, in a brief reading as a result of your post, it would seem your theory that “Marcion’s gospel was the precursor to the gospels and the New Testament,” isn’t quite correct. It was more that he simply didn’t agree with Luke and Paul’s perspectives and put together his own version of events.

    However, as with all matters related to the authenticity of “scripture,” it’s next to impossible to declare anything with 100% accuracy since the original documents are not available and what we do have has been “interpreted” numerous times.

    BTW, are you aware that Marcion leaned towards Gnosticism?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tertullian presumes that the NT (Gospels) already existed ( as a corpus?) – and it turns out he was likely wrong.

      I supplied one link (above) to the more recent findings of Westar.

      Yes, I know of Marcion’s view regarding the Old and New Testament gods and his Gnostic leanings.

      However, I am inclined to go with Westar and the view of Matthias Klinghardt. Marcion’s gospel came first, along with the Epistles and the church co-opted it and filled it out.
      The view has been proposed that Marcion used an existing document – largely because he does NOT claim authorship – and this may have been the famous Q. But again, as you say, with no original documents …

      I am still inclined to believe Marcion and/or members of his church/congregation were responsible for composition.

      For me this approach makes sense of several anomalies.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, Marcion could not merge the OT and NT gods, as many other Christian sects could not. It made more sense to claim there were two: the Creator god who left and the other who stayed around. Why is it that monotheism is such a potent idea that people will bend themselves into pretzel shapes defending it. Clearly the Christian pantheon is filled with gods and demi-gods, just like Roman theology. But the demi-gods jesus and the angles cannot be so called, so Jesus mus be Yahweh, along with the Holy Ghost. (I wonder why they left out the Pillar of Fire, the Burning Bush, in wrestler in the dark, etc? If you can turn three into one, why stop at three?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Well I guess I’ll have to present the side of common sense, since no one else around here wants the job.

    Who cares what others say about “Marcion?’ Just one more attempt from the annals of history which proves God’s word is good. But maybe you can refer me to the place in Chronicles, Kings, (either book) that references Marcion. I’ll go even further and ask where do we find the words Luther, Calvin, DeGrasse, Nye, Dawkins, Graham, take your pick. Billy Graham does not add to the truth of scripture, nor does Dawkins steal from it to try to make it untruthful. It stands alone. See how fair I am?

    Here’s a hint though: instead of reading what others say ABOUT scripture, why don’t you read it as if it was written to you. Try it, you may like it. Luke is fine and good as it is. Acts is fine and good as it is.

    Can I refer you to perhaps the finest chapter in scripture, Acts 7. It stands alone in historical accuracy, tested and proven by time and truth. No wonder people bit*h about the book of Acts.

    Like

    • Amazing!
      I don’t mind having a discussion on this topic with reasonable people – even Christians.
      Yet, just when I think a Christian can’t make a bigger Nob of themselves, you come along and prove me wrong.

      Shouldn’t you be polishing your pre-Cambrian bunny fossil?

      Liked by 3 people

    • Which translation of “God’s word” are you referring to, CS? The King James? The American Standard Version? The New International Version? Or perhaps you’re offering information from the Catholic Vulgate or the the Duoay-Rheims version?

      Or perhaps you are referencing the versions presented in the original Hebrew and Greek (even though what is available today is not truly “original”)?

      P.S. Haven’t you learned by now that referencing “scripture” on Ark’s blog is fruitless?

      Liked by 3 people

    • Really CS with your supposed after life in the balance can you afford not to look closely at the evidence your holy book may not be what it seems? I double check things I buy all the time and investigate them as much as I can, yet here you are betting all you have in this life and the possibility of a next one on simply denying there is any facts out there to prove the book wrong. Think hard about this CS, what religion you are is mostly a accident of birth and what your parents believed. If you had been born in India you would most likely be a Hindu, born in Iran / Iraq / Saudi Arabia you would be a Muslim. Can you say all these ( and so many more ) other religions around the world are wrong and only a set few who happened to follow a religion mostly based on a version of the holy book with known provable human translation errors , and mistakes in grammar are correct? You are betting a lot on this while not seeming open to even exploring the known history of your faith. That simply makes no sense with what you claim is riding on the answer. Be well, Happy New Year. Hugs

      Liked by 2 people

      • Just a question scott in the innocuous observation you said. Let’s start with the basics.

        Grammar errors in the KjV 1611? Do point one out, and please do not cite any sentence ending in a preposition as ‘grammar flaws,’ since it has been recently proven by University professors that not only are they correct, but when done well, add a bundle of wealth to a sentence.

        But did you allegedly find one on your own, or did you rely on the googledumbo.

        But do point out a grammar error.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I have found so many sites with the errors some translations and some punctuation I do not want to list them all here. But a few I will. I do notice you skipped the translation errors and focused on grammar in my question. But the grammar errors are part of the mistranslated errors. There were a lot more pages, all you have to do is a google search. But you did not answer the real question I asked. How can you bet everything in this life and everything you hope for in the next with out really verifying independently the accuracy of the holy book you use? Also you did not answer the question of birth and religion as it is an important key to the most likely faith of a person. Are they all wrong except yours?

          http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/graphic1designer/errors.html

          http://www.vkicg.org/KJV/kjv_te_punctuation.html

          Liked by 1 person

        • @ CS, just in case you wont read the web pages I sent here is your examples you asked for. Hugs

          Punctuation Problems

          Luke 23:43 has been erroneously used by some to claim that Jesus went straight to heaven at His death. The original Greek did not have punctuation marks as we do today. The KJV states, “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” The comma should not be after “thee”, but “day.” The believing malefactor would be with Christ in the paradise of the redeemed when he was resurrected far into the future.

          Mark 16:9 does not say that Jesus was resurrected Sunday morning. There is a missing implied comma between “risen” and “early” and there should be no comma after week as the KJV has it: “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene . . . .” Thus, it should say, “Now when Jesus was risen, early the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary Magdalene . . . .”

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’m sorry Scott but this has to be quite embarrassing to atheists in general, and ark in particular. Why?

            Because you are looking for a non esistent pimple on the beautiful Mt. Everest.

            Did the Lord appear FIRST to Mary of Magdala, or are we missing completely the fact that He rose from the dead, according to the scriptures?

            As to the alleged grammar errors, sources cited fall apart completely, utterly, and miserably, even the attempts you infer.

            But tks for trying, and even more, tks for the scriptures cited!

            Like

          • CS, you asked me to produce an example of a grammar error. I provided you with two. The point was not that your belief in a deity was wrong, but that your holy book that you use has errors. That is the truth I was hoping you would be honest enough to see. It clearly doesn’t destroy your faith in your deity, but it does show if you have a grasp of reality. If you can not even acknowledge small things that clearly are and exist how can anyone credit anything you claim. Sorry CS ( I do not use your whole name as Ark’s settings throw it to moderation on me ) but it causes me to lose respect for you and your god when you do things like this. Hugs

            Liked by 1 person

          • No scott.

            You provided an OPINION of grammatical error, in which your claim is baseless. The context of the commas, is perfect.

            But you may want to pay attention to WHAT was said actually. But tkx for trying scott anyway.

            Like

          • So then you would deny all the following:

            (P) Luke 23:43 – KJV
            Orig.: And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
            Cor.: And Jesus said unto him, VERILY I SAY UNTO THEE TO DAY, shalt thou be with me in paradise.
            — In the original Greek, there are no punctuation marks as we do in English today. The comma in the King James, as well as nearly every other Bible translation, is placed after ‘thee’, thus making it state that the thief will be in Heaven with Christ that very day. This is done because of the erroneous beliefs of “going to Heaven immediately when you die” and in part of “the immortality of the soul.” By keeping the comma there, it is in contradiction with the rest of the Bible. Note the following:
            — Christ did not go to Heaven till He was resurrected 3 days (72 hrs.) later (John 20:17).
            — No man has ascended into Heaven except Christ (John 3:13, Acts 2:34).
            — The saints of all men will be resurrected at Christ’s return and no sooner (I Corinthians 15:23).
            — Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He deals with us all the same (Hebrews 13:8).
            — The comma should be placed after ‘Today’ for the emphasis is on the fact that Christ was stating to the thief on that day that the thief will be with Him in the Kingdom of God (which is the Paradise of the redeemed in the future) at the resurrection of the Saints. This resurrection is in the future when Christ returns.

            Seems to me to deal with the above you have to admit there are punctuation errors in the bible or that the bible contradicts it self. Either way it shows there are errors in the bible. Hugs

            Liked by 1 person

      • It’s been said ‘errors upon the surface flow, He who looks for pearls must dive below.’

        Many think they have found errors due to lazy research and the avoiding of the unfolding of layers which reveal the complete genius of inspiration.

        Thank God.

        Like

        • Well, CS, please reveal the genius of inspiration in the following story:

          Did Jehoshaphat remove the high places and Asherah poles from Judah (2 Chronicles 17:5) . . . or did he not (1 Kings 22:43)?

          Because logic dictates they can’t both be true. Plus it seems rather strange that these “divinely inspired” accounts would contain such contradictions.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Seriously ron?

            You confuse Asa with Jehosaphat and suddenly it becomes MY problem?

            –Now, the acts of Asa from first to last, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa became diseased in his feet. His disease was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians. —

            Scripture always corrects us if we have ears to hear.

            Like

          • You’re quoting one chapter too early, CS:

            The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the ways of his father David before him. He did not consult the Baals but sought the God of his father and followed his commands rather than the practices of Israel. The Lord established the kingdom under his control; and all Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat, so that he had great wealth and honor. His heart was devoted to the ways of the Lord; furthermore, he removed the high places and the Asherah poles from Judah.

            vs.

            Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-five years. His mother’s name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. In everything he followed the ways of his father Asa and did not stray from them; he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. The high places, however, were not removed, and the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.

            Liked by 1 person

          • It’s amazing how short a time the family tree goes south eh? People forget the promises made to fathers, and somehow think their way is better.

            The narrative obviously points this out ron.

            David went south, Solomon went south, but for David’s sake, and God’s promises, God’s word always prevails.

            Like

          • Hey ron-

            God’s word is understood by people who 1st, give Him the courtesy of existing,
            and 2ndly, by getting straight what I already have said.

            A bible study to atheists? ? ?

            Like

  3. I just cut out the middle-man.

    I read something, if it’s credible (to me) and worthy enough I’ll sometimes accept it as gospel (ouch) or investigate further.

    As example, currently I’m beavering through an oodle of images of Petra. Some sources say Petra was cut from sandstone, which I understand to be a fairly soft and easily worked rock.
    Yesterday one source offered quartzite—much harder, nowhere near so easy to work (especially with copper chisels and rubber mallets)(copper may as well be rubber, no?)(Think rubber when trying to work granite and stuff with copper …).

    But for Christianity I don’t bother—they have their unique book, just like the other religions, so there ya go.

    But let me mention that our current favouritest movie is the animated “Peter Rabbit”; and I for one am a believer—not only is it in colour, but the rabbit talks—so gotta be true …

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well, the simplest answer is that Marcion wrote the Pauline letters himself.

    There are, however more fundamental questions to be asked. In the OT (Ezekiel 20) old Yahweh speaks his ire at the Israelites sacrificing their first born children to him. He claims that the Israelites have misunderstood (actually willfully) what he wanted as a sacrifice from the first fruits of the harvest. So, old Yahweh banned the human sacrifice that the Israelites were practicing. so, why on His green Earth would he choose a human sacrifice to atone for the imaginary sins that people were supposed to have committed by merely being born?

    Who dreams up this shit? Ah, apparently Marcion is one of the culprits. I am not sure anything conclusive can be said but when all is said and done I suspect Marcion to figure prominently in the fictions that are Christianity.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The problem with Marcion is this. If he wrote the Pauline letters, why did he write what he wrote? Paul [Marcion] defers to Christ’s teachings throughout his letters and preaches Christ throughout his so-called travels in the book of Acts, so should we therefore assume Marcion deferred to Christ throughout his writings too [instead]?

    Like

    • The problem with Marcion is this. If he wrote the Pauline letters, why did he write what he wrote?

      I am not following you here. Please be specific.
      And why would he not defer to Yeshua?

      Acts is now regarded as fiction, so we can discount this as a source.
      Are you suggesting here that Marcion wrote Acts?

      Like

      • Again, if Acts is regarded as fiction, who wrote it and why? What’s the motivation behind the life and letters of Paul if they were all written by somebody who made it all up? For instance, why would somebody who created and pretended to be the character of Paul write the following, from the letter to the Galatians:

        ‘‘For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!’’

        Like

        • Acts is an interesting case and I am no biblical scholar.
          As you know, some have speculated that Luke was written by a woman! I hope I don’t have to explain why?

          The Acts Sermon concluded after 11 years of study that Acts is largely a work of historical fiction.
          You surely cannot believe all the nonsense it contains?

          Try this to start with.

          https://www.westarinstitute.org/projects/the-jesus-seminar/seminar-on-the-acts-of-the-apostles/

          Who wrote Acts?

          Well .. I would imagine church scribes.

          It was Marcion who apparently ”found” the Epistles and handed them over to the church. They certainly are not mentioned by anyone until they appear in Marcion’s Gospel of the Lord .

          I can’t see the relevance of your Galatians quote. Sorry.
          And how difficult would it be for the church to add to the Epistles? The tracts are not considered ”letters” in the true sense and several have been put together piece meal.

          Like

          • The fact that you’re unable to see the relevance of the Galatians quote provides the reason for your inability to answer my question as to why whoever wrote it, wrote it. The result is that rather than concentrating on the content of the records of the early church you’re more inclined to research the origins of the texts. In other words you can’t understand it (it’s nonsense to you), so you don’t want to accept it, therefore you trash it. This reaction is completely understandable, but what really matters is what, ultimately, is the truth.

            Here’s what one person thinks about the Westar Institute and its forums:

            http://www.mvbf.org/dan-starcevich/the-jesus-seminar-westar-institute-and-agenda-to-destroy-the-bible/

            Like

          • The Galatians passage reflects Paul’s belief in redemption through Jesus and not the law. A position that is in line with Marcion’s position.
            So, as Marcion rejected the OT god , Yahweh, once again, what is the relevance of quoting this passage?

            As for your link:
            It took mere seconds to see this:

            Clearly His goal was not to honor the eye-witness accounts of the person and work of Jesus.

            Another fool.
            How many times must you be told? There are NO EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS to the life of the biblical character Jesus of Nazareth.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Paul did not reject the OT God, he explained Him, the relationship of Jesus to the OT and how He fulfilled the OT Law, so where do you read that he (or Marcion if you must) rejected the OT God? Also, how do you know Marcion wrote what you believe he did? The fact that he possessed and published Paul’s works doesn’t mean he had to be their author does it?

            And how many times must you be told that the gospels are records of eyewitness accounts? You’ll happily believe a newspaper story of an interview with an eyewitness to a crime, which is essentially what the gospels are, so why not the Bible’s gospels?

            Like

          • Paul did not reject the OT God, he explained Him, the relationship of Jesus to the OT and how He fulfilled the OT Law,

            You maybe be correct.

            Please reference epistle and passage that you believe supports this view.

            And how many times must you be told that the gospels are records of eyewitness accounts?

            I forgot that you are a fundamentalist.
            If you wish to see one of the better take downs of the ”eyewitness” claim watch the debate between Ehrman and Licona.
            Q/A part toward the end.
            I almost felt sorry for Licona in this one, as Ehrman embarrassed him quite badly. But to be honest, Mike deserved what he got.

            Personally, I defer to the consensus view of historians and scholars.
            The gospels are anonymous.

            Like

          • C — you ask, “Also, how do you know Marcion wrote what you believe he did?” The natural question in response is how do YOU know “the gospels are records of eyewitness accounts?”

            You were told? You read it somewhere? You believe it in your heart?

            Biblical scholars study the bible. They spend many years doing research, investigating all available sources and resources, before they offer their conclusions. As Ark stated, the consensus view of the bible scholars is the gospels were written by anonymous individuals.

            Liked by 2 people

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