Archive for March 2017

How Odd Was Marcion?   Leave a comment


Marcion’s image vandalised

In a recent issue of Vigiliae Christianae a new stimulating article appears to question another basic piece of information we inherited from Tertullian about Marcion (see here). If Marcion’s Evangelion, as several substantial studies today suggest, is not an abridgment of Luke, and if he was not really a docetist (if we have a concrete definition of this term) then what is it left that could define Marcion’s “heresy”?

The most defining idea about his discontent with the Jewish origins of Christianity seems to me at least not as odd as it might be suggested. Ignatius of Antioch’s letters didn’t show any interest in Judaism or its prophecies, and we can barely find anything from the Hebrew Bible in the Apostolic Fathers outside 1Clement and Barnabas. Further, the author  of the so-called Epistle of Barnabas was a Judaism antagonist who condemned Judaism categorically (calling it a form of idolatry!), yet his work was celebrated at least in Alexandria that it was included in the canon of the oldest codex known to us (Sinaiticus).

What was so special about Marcion that made him subject to such falsifiable caricatures? The dynamics of the problems of the Marcionite struggle seemed to be beyond disagreement over abstract ideas. If Marcion did not hold such contempt to the figure of Peter, would have Marcionism been accommodated?

It seems that Walter Bauer’s Orthodoxy and Heresy thesis cannot be more relevant in the light of today’s serious revisions of long-held ecclesiastical narratives about this mysterious figure.


Posted March 20, 2017 by Mina Monier in Uncategorized