Archive for June 2017

Slowly but Surely: Engaging Marcion in the Synoptic Problem   Leave a comment


The new issues of JTS and NTS feature two contributions to the continuing debate over Marcion’s Gospel and its possible impact on the synoptic problem.

Matthias Klinghardt, whose 2-volume work on Marcion’s Evangelion was published last year, provides us with a more assertive article on the priority of the Evangelion in comparison with Luke.

Matthias, Klinghardt “Marcion’s Gospel and the New Testament: Catalyst or Consequence?.” New Testament Studies 63.2 (2017): 318-323.

It is a short paper delivered in the ‘Quaestiones disputatae’ session at the 71st General Meeting of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, held at McGill University, Montreal, on 3 August 2016. The session was chaired by Professor Carl Holladay, President of the Society.

The fact that Luke is almost always shorter than Marcion, which should direct the redaction process from the latter to the former remains one of the most important principles on which his theory hinges. Prima facie this is true, but the reality as it appears in the complex textual variations of Luke itself should always be remembered before comparing two “final” texts.

The second point is his rather complicated construction of how all the Gospels were originated from the Evangelion in order to show that the later is indeed Das älteste Evangelium (which is the title of his work).

The second publication is Markus Vinzent’s review of Judith Lieu’s book:

Vinzent, Markus. “Marcion and the Making of a Heretic: God and Scripture in the Second Century. By Judith M. Lieu.” JTS (2017): 345-348.

You will notice that the review starts from where mine ends in page 345 🙂

Vinzent concludes his comment with the important question that seems to be still open: “Lieu seems to reckon with a historical Marcion who had made use of information (oral or written?) and named a written text ‘Gospel’, and it would be interesting to know what she means by his having been ‘familiar’ with—with what, one may ask: did Marcion only use this text, did he redact it, did he write it?”

We have no solid evidence on the authorship of the gospel Marcion considered to be pure and original. The fact that the Evangelion itself is not quite Marcionite made Tertullian perplexed, giving in to conspiracy theories behind that!

But Vinzent is apparently pushing the debate towards this important question which will have serious consequences on dating several texts and on the composition history of Luke.





Posted June 29, 2017 by Mina Monier in Uncategorized

Who Represents Islam?   1 comment


After last night’s vicious attack in London, British media outlets, as usual, started to seek statements of condemnation from Muslim figures. This morning I had my breakfast while watching a senior figure in the Ahmedi sect defending Islam and talking about how the terrorists do not represent it. For me this did not lack black comedy since Ahmedis are not even considered Muslims by the rest of the Islamic world. They are considered to be “infidels” and not just heretics or apostates. Shortly later, another Muslim cleric releases a statement on behalf of the British Muslim council citing weak Hadiths (a Hadith is a saying of Muhammed preserved through tradition – a weak Hadith means that its origin is dubious and hence it has no authority) and abrogated verses (verses about how Muslims should treat others peacefully, these verses were abrogaded by the later verses that exhort Muslims to seek militant jihad and force Christians and Jews to pay taxes called Jiziah if they want to keep their heads and bodies intact – check the final Surah of al-Tawbah).

I am not intending to offer a comprehensive explanation for the dynamics of power and authority in Islam  since there isn’t, practically, a single one. Yet, one important question should be asked by every western viewer who found themselves snowed under with forceful statements about how Jihadists do not represent Islam: why?

Why cannot be the “extremists” the ones who represent Islam while the others are the “heretic”?

Is it because the version of the militant Islamists is not favourable? well, if you don’t like something it doesn’t mean it is not true!

Representing Islam should not be left to our presumptuous, wishful thinking or cherry picking. It is a serious scholarly problem that should be subject to honest historical and scientific criticism, then the results should be conveyed to the public. Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, must be subjected to the different forms of criticism and Muslims should be the first to do that with honesty in order to deliver an honest statement about the historical Islam or what could represent Islam. Otherwise, the problem will remain and terrorism will continue since its root ideology is dismissed a priori.

In the picture of this post, you will see an Egyptian Muslim scholar whose writings remain to be one of the most influential writings since the time of the main 4 scholars of Islam.  His name is Sayed Qutb. In the Shades of Quran was his comprehensive commentary on Quran. Qutb was the ideologist of the Muslim Brotherhood, the mother of the most prominent Jihadist movements including Qaeda and ISIS.

Since the foundation of this movement in 1928, the United Kingdom has provided its support and protection of the Muslim Brotherhood who, in return, helped the British government whenever the Egyptian king (and later presidents like Nasser) works against its interests. The Muslim Brotherhood has its international headquarters in London and from here it operates internationally to poison generations of Muslims with its comprehensive literature. Qutbists (those who are totally loyal to Qutb’s ideology) like Abdulmoneim abulFuttuh are received in London’s Chatham House regularly. Why do people dismiss Jihadists while they protect their ideologists and propagandists in the political sphere?

In the next post I will go with you briefly through Qutb’s commentary on the most important Surah (al-Tawbah) which identifies the relations between Muslims and non-Muslims. We will see how strong and comprehensive his treatment of the sources is.

Posted June 4, 2017 by Mina Monier in Uncategorized