Marcion's Gospel

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
John2
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Re: Marcion's Gospel

Post by John2 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:48 pm

Another thing I noticed in Ben's (first) thread I linked to above that stood out is this:

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2015 5:54 pm
Another possible indicator of Marcionite priority over Luke is the apparent anonymity of the former compared to the title of the latter. Tertullian, Against Marcion 4.2.3a:

Marcion, on the other hand, you must know, ascribes no author to his Gospel, as if it could not be allowed him to affix a title to that from which it was no crime (in his eyes) to subvert the very body.

As Mark Goodacre points out in his Dating Game series:

The more blatant signs, though, of the relative lateness of John and Thomas lie in their attempts at authorial self-representation. Where earlier Gospels like Mark and Matthew are anonymous and avoid attempting to project an authorial presence to lend authority to their work, the author of the Fourth Gospel makes claims to have been present, most notably in 19.35 and of course 21.24, “This is the disciple who testifies to these things and wrote them down (καὶ ὁ γράψας ταῦτα). We know that his testimony is true,” similar in style and literary function to the Incipit of Thomas, “These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke and which Didymos Judas Thomas wrote down.” .... There is a trajectory among these early Christian texts, from the absence of authorial self-representation in Mark and Matthew, to hints in Luke and Acts (with the first person found in Luke 1.1-4 as well as in the “we” passages in Acts), to the marked but nevertheless still unnamed authorial presence in John, to the explicit self-representation of Didymos Judas Thomas in its Gospel’s Incipit, a naming that also leads the reader to pay special attention to Thomas 13.

Perhaps Marcion had reasons for not giving his gospel a good apostolic title like the canonical four (and many others); but maybe it is more likely that his gospel hailed from the days before those titles gained currency; his gospel persisted in its anonymity while others were gaining attributions left and right.

SInce Marcion and Luke are interconnected in some special way, it also seems to me to be a bit of a coincidence that Luke, a purported companion to Paul, should be the choice of gospel text; if Marcion followed canonical Luke and chose Luke to mutilate rather than Matthew or Mark or John or whatnot, then it seems odd that it would have nothing to do with the name of Luke. Yet, if it did have something to do with the name of Luke, why not retain the name? Why strip the name off of it?

Again, maybe Marcion had his reasons. But, on the other hand, maybe the trajectory is simple: Marcion actually chose his gospel, some kind of anonymous proto-Luke simply because he was familiar with it, perhaps from Pontus. The Catholics took his gospel and turned it into canonical Luke precisely in order to counter Marcion. This trajectory follows the pattern outlined by Goodacre above (from anonymous to named) and also explains why the Marcionite gospel would be associated with a companion of Paul while still remaining anonymous: the anonymity came first, and the name of Luke was attached later.


Who is the first person to mention the gospel of Luke by that name? I gather Justin Martyr was Marcion's contemporary and is an early (if not the earliest) person to cite things that are in Luke, but he doesn't identify them as being written by Luke (or identify the author of any other gospel by name beyond calling them memoirs of the apostles). So maybe Luke wasn't called Luke yet in Marcion's time and that's why Marcion's gospel had no name, like Ben's supposition I underlined above.

As for why Maricon would have chosen Luke (before it had a name), I think the bird's eye view could explain it. In my estimation Mark and Matthew are Nazarene in character (i.e., pro-Torah observance), and to judge from Papias they were being used by Nazarenes (or at least people who were friends of the earliest Christians, who in my view were Nazarenes), so they would presumably not have appealed to Marcion. And since the gospel of John was thought to have been written by John the son of Zebedee by Marcion's time, it would presumably not have appealed to him either (i.e., it too was perceived as being Jewish).

But one thing I bring to the table could explain why Marcion liked Luke. I suspect it was written (c. 95 CE, along with Acts) by Paul's patron Epaphroditus, so perhaps it had an air of being written by a pro-Pauline Gentile (which later led to the guess that it was Luke). And that Marcion rejected Acts (even though in my view it was written by the same author) makes sense, because even though it is pro-Pauline, it has (in my view) the agenda of smoothing things over between Paul and Jewish Christians (and even presents Paul as observing the Torah).

So for a guy like Marcon, who was all about not observing the Torah and Jesus being a phantom sent from the real god, Luke (before it had a name), with a few tweaks (and perhaps some additions that Marcion liked from the other gospels) was the only option (with a big tweak being that Luke 1 and 2 had to go).

And in favor of the idea that Luke 1 and 2 pre-dated Maricon is this comment I made on Ben's thread:

The biggest thing that comes to mind though is Luke's use of Josephus, which I consider bedrock for the dating and structure of Luke and Acts. It would seem weird if there was an original Luke without the prologue given that its reference to Theophilus (ala Josephus' Epaphroditus) is a key component of Luke's use of Josephus that is echoed in Acts 1:1 ("The former treatise I made, O Theophilus ...").

To which Ben responded:

Good point. I too tend to think that Luke-Acts postdates Josephus.
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John2
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Re: Marcion's Gospel

Post by John2 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 2:23 pm

As I take a fresh look at the patristic sources Bernard cited above, I think they are spot on about Marcion. For examples:


Irenaeus:

... he [Marcion] mutilates the Gospel which is according to Luke, removing all that is written respecting the generation of the Lord, and setting aside a great deal of the teaching of the Lord, in which the Lord is recorded as most dearly confessing that the Maker of this universe is His Father.

Tertullian:

In short, when Marcion laid hands on it, it then became diverse and hostile to the Gospels of the apostles.



Epiphanius:

But I shall come to his writings, or rather, to his tamperings. This man has only Luke as a Gospel, mutilated at the beginning because of the Savior’s conception and his incarnation ... But this person who harmed himself < rather > than the Gospel did not cut just the beginning off. He also cut off many words of the truth both at the end and in the middle, and he has added other things besides, beyond what had been written.
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John2
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Re: Marcion's Gospel

Post by John2 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 2:39 pm

And Marcion tweaking Luke as we know it explains the Markan overlaps, i.e., those Markan verses were already in the original Luke. And anything from Matthew (or John, if there was anything from that in it) is explained by Epiphanius' statement that Marcion had also "added other things besides."

But as for the "Capernaum business," I need to take a closer look at that.
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davidmartin
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Re: Marcion's Gospel

Post by davidmartin » Sat Dec 07, 2019 3:10 pm

In my estimation Mark and Matthew are Nazarene in character (i.e., pro-Torah observance), and to judge from Papias they were being used by Nazarenes (or at least people who were friends of the earliest Christians, who in my view were Nazarenes), so they would presumably not have appealed to Marcion. And since the gospel of John was thought to have been written by John the son of Zebedee by Marcion's time, it would presumably not have appealed to him either (i.e., it too was perceived as being Jewish).
i like that, a variation could go that although the proto-catholic church accepted Paul like Marcion it was also closer to the Nazarenes than Paul had been, and as in your theory Mark and Matthew wouldn't appeal. With John's gospel i suspect this community was not so keen on Paul as he was which would rule it out for Marcion also. His best shot was another gospel. I do think the John community and Paul had the earliest roots back to original Christians never could make the Nazarene original hypothesis work for me.

The question of Marcion's gospel does seem to have reasonable solutions what gets me is how he can place such emphasis on Paul with such a different theology on God. I don't buy into the idea Marcion was correct and Catholics heavily reworked Paul's letters, but left in all the stuff that Marcion found useful. I'm reluctant to accuse Marcion of chopping up Paul's letters but can't think of any other idea.
Marcion may have had some valid points but seems to have gone to an extreme in his response (from his background's perspective) and probably was a charismatic individual with his own revelation, still something doesn't really make sense but sometimes things don't!

John2
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Re: Marcion's Gospel

Post by John2 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 3:50 pm

Alright, the Capernaum business. I'm still processing the second part. But here is how Ben puts the first part above:

First, in Luke 4.23, Jesus is preaching in the synagogue at Nazara, and he imagines his listeners saying to him, "Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your home town as well." Luke, however, has not yet narrated anything about Capernaum; this is its first mention. Awkward.



If I set the Marcion issue aside I think this could be explained by Luke having Mark and thus knowing that Jesus had previously healed people in Capernaum, and that his not mentioning it was an oversight (collateral damage) in the process of editing Mark. Nobody's perfect.

But here's the tricky second part. As Ben writes above:

The Marcionite gospel has Jesus appearing in Capernaum first and performing an exorcism there before moving on to Nazareth. Now, on the one hand, perhaps one exorcism is not enough to merit the saying in Luke 4.23, which actually uses the plural (ὅσα ἠκούσαμεν γενόμενα, as many things as we have heard were done). On the other hand, however, the particular line of Luke 4.23 which refers back to things done in Nazareth is not attested as either present in or absent from the Marcionite gospel. One wonders what the relationship of Matthew and Mark to Marcion might be in this case, since in Marcion the Nazareth trip seems to come very early, as in Luke, but not until after Capernaum, as in Matthew and Mark.

There is more. Luke 4.31 reads, "And he came down into Capernaum, a city of Galilee." The extra descriptor certainly makes it sound as if this is the first mention of Capernaum... but of course we already have that earlier mention in the dominical saying of Luke 4.23. In Mark 1.21, the Marcan parallel to Luke 4.31, it is the first mention of Capernaum in that gospel; yet Mark simply says, "And he went into Capernaum," with no further description (that happens with some frequency in Mark). The Marcionite parallel to Luke 4.31 is the first mention of Capernaum in that gospel, as well. In the ever intriguing codex Bezae (D), Luke 4.31 comes off even more like the first mention of Capernaum: "And he came down into Capernaum, a city of Galilee, near the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali. Compare Matthew 4.13: "And he left Nazareth and came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali." This, of course, is the first mention of Capernaum in Matthew, just like it sounds. (Notice that, in Matthew, Jesus actually hits Nazareth first, yet this visit is not described at all; after the temptation, Jesus comes into Galilee, specifically Nazareth, then leaves with no description of events at all and settles in Capernaum.)

There is more. Irenaeus writes in Against Heresies 4.23.1:

For this reason, too, did the Lord Himself read at Capernaum the prophecies of Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me; to preach the Gospel to the poor hath He sent Me, to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and sight to the blind [Is. 61:1]." At the same time, showing that it was He Himself who had been foretold by Isaiah the prophet, He said to them: "This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears."

But these quotations come from Luke 4.18 and 4.21, from the visit to Nazareth, not to Capernaum.

All I have are questions about this.


1. Could Irenaeus be confused about the location of this citation because of the reference to Capernaum that follows it in 4:23?


2. What is the source for the above remark that "The Marcionite gospel has Jesus appearing in Capernaum first and performing an exorcism there before moving on to Nazareth"?
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John2
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Re: Marcion's Gospel

Post by John2 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:05 pm

The question of Marcion's gospel does seem to have reasonable solutions what gets me is how he can place such emphasis on Paul with such a different theology on God.

Well, other Gnostics used Paul too (and NT gospels and such). it was just a matter of interpreting him to suit their needs rather than Paul actually being in harmony with them. And I figure the main appeal of Paul for Marcion was that he preached to Gentiles and not to Jews.
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davidmartin
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Re: Marcion's Gospel

Post by davidmartin » Sat Dec 07, 2019 6:08 pm

true enough, although he does seem to go beyond just quoting Paul to basing his whole scheme on his letters but it's only a matter of degree i guess. wild times. i wonder if Marcion inspired Montanus in any way.

John2
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Re: Marcion's Gospel

Post by John2 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 6:31 pm

I found the source for Marcion's gospel saying Capernaum (in Tertullian) and an article that discusses the issues regarding Luke 4 that I need to consider (and it even uses the same word to describe it -tricky- that I used above):

... all we know from Epiphanius regarding the parts of Marcion’s gospel corresponding to Lk 4:1–5:13 is that in comparison with what he saw in Luke some text was not present, other text was added, and that the order of the text was different. The implication is that here the text in Marcion’s gospel was so different from what Epiphanius saw in Luke that he either did not want to, or could not, identify individual differences.

None of the information provided by Tertullian regarding the early part of Marcion’s gospel contradicts Epiphanius, although what he writes (or does not) is very different. He agrees that Marcion’s gospel began with v. 3:1a, then makes no mention of the baptism and the genealogy (which Epiphanius states were not in Marcion's gospel), or the temptation (vv. 4:1-14), about which Epiphanius has no specific comment. Following his reference to v. 3:1a the order of his comments confirms Epiphanius’ statement that Marcion’s gospel did not keep to the order that we see in Luke, with the most notable difference being that Capernaum comes before Nazareth, as it also does in both Mark and Matthew. By piecing together the comments from both Tertullian and Epiphanius, we know that Marcion's gospel began as follows:

In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, [3:1a]

he came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. [4:31]

This raises the question of why, if Marcion edited Luke, he would begin his gospel this way, both changing the order and omitting so much, to which there is no logical answer. Of course, as an author Marcion could have done this, but these changes are so unlike the other much smaller omissions and other minor changes we see between the rest of Marcion’s gospel and Luke that they appear to represent two completely separate sets of changes.

On the other hand, if Marcion’s gospel is an early version of what later became Luke then the differences between them can be seen as being very similar to the form of growth we see from Mark to Matthew or Luke, and a facetious remark from Tertullian in Adv. Marcion (Adversus Marcionem) Book IV, as translated by E. Evans in 1972 suggests that he knew that the contents of Luke had been subject to change prior to Marcion:

… an amender of that Gospel [Luke], which had been all topsy-turvy from the days of Tiberius to those of Antoninus, first presented himself in Marcion alone -- so long looked for by Christ.

In other words, Tertullian knew that there had been earlier versions of Luke, and it is therefore possible that rather than editing canonical Luke, Marcion might have had access to, and perhaps edited, one of these earlier versions.

Conclusion

With Lk 4:14b-15 in its current position by the time we get to Lk 4:43 it appears that Jesus has forgotten that he had already taught in the synagogues of “the region round about” Galilee, and so has to preach throughout Galilee all over again! This repetition makes no sense, and appears to have been added purely to allow something (unspecified) to have happened in Capernaum that could later be referred to in Nazareth. In addition, because Jesus had to have met Simon before healing his mother-in-law there would have had to be an early parallel to Mk 1:16-20 before entering Capernaum. Consequently the order in the original (early) version of Luke (but without Lk 4:14b-15, which are shown below for reference only) appears to have been as follows:


And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, [Lk 4:14a]

And came down to Capernaum, a city near the sea, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim, [Lk 4:31a(D)]

and taught them on the Sabbath days [Lk 4:31b].

... Sea of Galilee (the call) ... [c.f. Mk 1:16-20]

… Capernaum … [Lk 4:32-36]

And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about. [Lk 4:37]

… Peter’s mother-in-law … [Lk 4:38-39]

And there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. [Lk 4:14b]

and he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. [Lk 4:15]

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, [Lk 4:16a]

... Nazareth … [Lk 4:16b-28]

... Thrown out of Nazareth ... [Lk 4:29-30]
… Unknown location … [Lk 4:40-42]

And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent. [Lk 4:43]

And he preached in the synagogues of [Judea][Galilee][the Jews]. [Lk 4:44)


With the Capernaum and Nazareth episodes in Luke in their original positions (above), not only would Lk 4:14b-15 be redundant (in particular with Lk 4:14b at this point located only three verses after what we see as Lk 4:37), but the version of Lk 4:31a seen in Bezae then makes perfect sense, as not only does it introduce Capernaum, but Mt 4:12b-13b closely parallels Lk 4:14a,31a, and is probably dependent on these verses. It should also be noted that with this early order (without Lk 4:14b-15), the variant ‘Galilee’ in Lk 4:44 is the obvious original, as Lk 4:14a and Lk 4:44 then neatly ‘bracket’ the Capernaum and Nazareth teachings.

There is ample proof, both from inconsistencies in the Lukan narrative that we see today and the other synoptic gospels, that at some point in the development of Luke Jesus taught in Capernaum before he did so in Nazareth. This should come as no surprise, as this is the order we see in both Mark and Matthew. The surprise is that this order was ever changed to what we see today in Luke.


https://sites.google.com/site/inglisonm ... reth-first
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John2
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Re: Marcion's Gospel

Post by John2 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 6:58 pm

Perhaps the key to all this is Tertullian's remark that the text of Luke "had been all topsy-turvy from the days of Tiberius to those of Antoninus." Would that necessarily mean that there was a "proto-Luke," or would it mean that there were variant Lukes (like there were variant Acts or other gospels), one of which ended up being the NT version and another that was (after being tinkered with) Marcion's version? Even if Marcion had a better copy (at least with respect to chapter 4), he still could have "not cut just the beginning off. He also cut off many words of the truth both at the end and in the middle, and .. added other things besides, beyond what had been written" (as Epiphanius puts it).

This would make more sense than to suppose that Marcion's gospel (as he presented it) was some kind of original gospel that the orthodox turned into Luke as we have it, since we know from Papias (who in my view pre-dates Marcion and did not know of Luke) that there were already at least two gospels in circulation in his time (Mark and Matthew). It seems more likely to me that Marcion had "laid hands on [a variant copy of] Luke, [and] it then became diverse and hostile to the Gospels of the apostles" rather than that the orthodox had "laid hands on" a Marcion-type "proto-gospel" and turned it into Mark and Matthew and Luke (and invented Jewish Christians and such), with the first two existing before Marcion had even presented his gospel (and perhaps even before he was alive).
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John2
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Re: Marcion's Gospel

Post by John2 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 7:43 pm

If the orthodox (or proto-orthodox) had "Judaized" a Marcion-type "proto-gospel" (by turning it into the Mark, Matthew and Luke that we have) in order to counter Marcion, why didn't Marcion's contemporary Justin Martyr use the existence of Jewish Christians in his time to counter Marcion instead of being at best lukewarm about them?

And I think it would make sense that the text of Luke (and Acts) "had been all topsy-turvy from the days of Tiberius to those of Antoninus" (or at least since Domitian's time) if it was written by Paul's patron Epaphroditus and that he was the person with the same name who is said to have died c. 95 CE during the time Domitian was persecuting Christians, since he may have consequently not had time to finalize those writings before his execution, leading to various corrections and such.

And a date of c. 95 CE would explain why Papias was apparently unaware of Luke and Acts.
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