Marcion of Sinope

Marcion of Sinope (/ˈmɑːrʃən, -ʃiən, -siən/; Greek: Μαρκίων[1][2] Σινώπης; c. 85 – c. 160) was an important figure in early Christianity. His theology rejected the deity described in the Hebrew Scriptures and in distinction affirmed the Father of Christ as the true God. The Church Fathers denounced Marcion, and he was excommunicated from the proto-orthodox Church. He published his own list of New Testament books,[3] making him a catalyst in the process of the development of the New Testament canon by forcing the early Church to respond to his claims.

Apostle John and Marcion of Sinope, from JPM LIbrary MS 748, 11th c
Apostle John (left) and Marcion of Sinope (right), from Morgan Library MS 748, 11th century

Life

Epiphanius records in his Panarion that Marcion was born the son of a bishop in Pontus. Rhodo and Tertullian, young men in Marcion's old age, described him as a "mariner" and a "ship-master," respectively. Marcion made a donation of 200,000 sesterces to the Church in Rome.[4] Conflicts with the Church of Rome arose and he was eventually excommunicated, his donation being returned to him.[5] After his excommunication, he returned to Asia Minor, where he continued to lead his many church congregations and teach the Gospel of Marcion.

According to anti-Marcionite sources, Marcion's teacher was the Simonian Cerdo. Irenaeus writes that "a certain Cerdo, originating from the Simonians, came to Rome under Hyginus ... and taught that the one who was proclaimed as God by the Law and the Prophets is not the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Against Heresies, 1, 27, 1).

In 394, Epiphanius claimed that after beginnings as an ascetic, Marcion seduced a virgin and was accordingly excommunicated by his father, prompting him to leave his home town.[6] This account has been doubted by many scholars, who consider it "malicious gossip". More recently, Bart D. Ehrman suggests that this "seduction of a virgin" was a metaphor for his corruption of the Christian Church, with the Church portrayed as the undefiled virgin.[7] Similarly doubtful is Tertullian's claim in The Prescription Against Heretics (written ca. 200) that Marcion professed repentance, and agreed to the conditions granted to him—that he should receive reconciliation if he restored to the Church those whom he had led astray—but that he was prevented from doing so by his death.[8]

Teachings

Study of the Hebrew scriptures, along with received writings circulating in the nascent Church, led Marcion to conclude that many of the teachings of Jesus were incompatible with the actions of Yahweh, the belligerent god of the Hebrew Bible. Marcion responded by developing a ditheistic system of belief around the year 144.[9] This notion of two gods—a higher transcendent one and a lower world creator and ruler—allowed Marcion to reconcile his perceived contradictions between Christian Old Covenant theology and the Gospel message proclaimed by the New Testament.

In contrast to other leaders of the nascent Christian Church, however, Marcion declared that Christianity was in complete discontinuity with Judaism and entirely opposed to the Tanakh. Marcion did not claim that the Jewish scriptures were false. Instead, he asserted that they were to be read in an absolutely literal manner, thereby developing an understanding that Yahweh was not the same god spoken of by Jesus. For example, Marcion argued that the Genesis account of Yahweh walking through the Garden of Eden asking where Adam was, had proved Yahweh inhabited a physical body and was without universal knowledge, attributes wholly incompatible with the Heavenly Father professed by Jesus.

According to Marcion, the god of the Old Testament, whom he called the Demiurge, the creator of the material universe, is a jealous tribal deity of the Jews, whose law represents legalistic reciprocal justice and who punishes mankind for its sins through suffering and death. In contrast, the god that Jesus professed is an altogether different being, a universal god of compassion and love who looks upon humanity with benevolence and mercy. Marcion also produced his Antitheses, contrasting the Demiurge of the Old Testament with the Heavenly Father of the New Testament.

Marcion held Jesus to be the son of the Heavenly Father but understood the incarnation in a docetic manner, i.e. that Jesus' body was only an imitation of a material body, and consequently denied Jesus' physical and bodily birth, death, and resurrection.

Marcion was the first to introduce an early Christian canon. His canon consisted of only eleven books, grouped into two sections: the Evangelikon, based on Luke with parts removed that did not agree with his views,[10] and the Apostolikon, a selection of ten epistles of Paul the Apostle (also altered to fit his views),[10] whom Marcion considered the correct interpreter and transmitter of Jesus' teachings. The gospel used by Marcion does not contain elements relating to Jesus' birth and childhood, although it does contain some elements of Judaism, and material challenging Marcion's ditheism.

Gnosticism

Marcion is sometimes described as a Gnostic philosopher. In some essential respects, Marcion proposed ideas which would have aligned well with Gnostic thought. Like the Gnostics, he argued that Jesus was essentially a divine spirit appearing to human beings in the shape of a human form, and not someone in a true physical body.[11]

However, Marcionism conceptualizes God in a way which cannot be reconciled with broader Gnostic thought. For Gnostics, some human beings are born with a small piece of God's soul lodged within his/her spirit (akin to the notion of a Divine Spark).[11] God is thus intimately connected to and part of his creation. Salvation lies in turning away from the physical world (which Gnostics regard as an illusion) and embracing the godlike qualities within yourself. Marcion, by contrast, held that the Heavenly Father (the father of Jesus Christ) of Marcionism was an utterly alien god; he had no part in making the world, nor any connection with it.[11]

Legacy

In hindsight, Marcion is seen as one of the first heresiarchs for his deviations from what would become the orthodox positions of the main authorities in the Catholic Church. The suppression of the Marcionist form of Christianity is thus viewed[12] as a catalyst for the development of the New Testament canon, the establishment of a centralized church law, and the structuring of the Church.

The church centered on the Marcionist interpretation of the Christian gospel expanded greatly within Marcion's lifetime, became a rival to the orthodox Christian Church and retained its following for several centuries. It survived Christian controversy, and imperial disapproval, for several centuries more.[13]

Marcion proposed and delineated a canon (a list of officially sanctioned religious works). This prompted the orthodox part of the Church to form a separate official canon of books that had been recognized as divinely inspired and authoritative. Christians began to divide texts into those that aligned with the "measuring stick" (Greek kanōn literally means "measuring stick") as being apostolic, authoritative, Christian writings (the works of the Old and New Testaments as we know them today), those that were rejected as heretical or pseudonymous, and those that were accepted but not seen as canon or read in public gatherings (e.g., The Shepherd of Hermas). Therefore, Marcion played a role in finalizing the structure and contents of the collection of works now called the New Testament.

See also

References

  1. ^ First Apology of Justin Martyr, XXVI.5
  2. ^ Genitive: Μαρκίωνος.
  3. ^ Bruce 1988, p. 134
  4. ^ Harnack, Adolf. Marcion: The Gospel of the Alien God. Grand Rapids: Baker. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-55635-703-9.
  5. ^ Harnack, Adolf. Marcion: The Gospel of the Alien God. Grand Rapids: Baker. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-55635-703-9.
  6. ^ Refutation of All Heresies, XLII, ii.
  7. ^ Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Christianities
  8. ^ The Prescription Against Heretics 30:3. Tertullian.org.
  9. ^ 115 years and 6 months from the Crucifixion, according to Tertullian's reckoning in Adversus Marcionem, xv.
  10. ^ a b Robert J. Wilkinson (5 February 2015). Tetragrammaton: Western Christians and the Hebrew Name of God: From the Beginnings to the Seventeenth Century. BRILL. pp. 120–. ISBN 978-90-04-28817-1.
  11. ^ a b c Adolph Harnack, Marcion: The Gospel of the Alien God (1924).
  12. ^ Bruce 1988, p. 151
  13. ^ Evans 1972 p. ix

Sources

  • Blackman, E.C. Marcion and His Influence [1948] 2004 ISBN 978-1-59244-731-2
  • Bruce, F. F. (1988). The Canon of Scripture. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 978-0-8308-1258-5
  • Clabeaux, John James. The Lost Edition of the Letters of Paul: A Reassessment of the Text of Pauline Corpus Attested by Marcion (Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series No. 21) 1989 ISBN 0-915170-20-5
  • Dahl, Nils Alstrup. "The Origin of the Earliest Prologues to the Pauline Letters", Semeia 12 (1978), 233–277
  • Epiphanius of Salamis. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Book 1 (Sects 1-46) Frank Williams translator, 1987 ISBN 90-04-07926-2
  • Evans, Ernest (comments and translation): Tertullian, Against Marcion (Oxford University Press, 1972). E-text of Adversus Marcionem and Evan's introduction "Marcion : His Doctrine and Influence"
  • Grant, Robert M. Marcion and the Critical Method Peter Richardson & John Collidge Hurd, eds., From Jesus to Paul. Studies in Honour of Francis Wright Beare. Waterloo, ON, 1984. pp. 207–215.
  • Harnack, Adolf von 1961. History of Dogma (Neil Buchanan, translating Harnack's Dogmengeschichte 1900), vol. I, pp. 267–313, vol. II, pp. 1–19
  • Harnack, Adolf von. Marcion: The Gospel of the Alien God translation 1990 ISBN 0-939464-16-0 (German first edition 1921, second edition 1924)
  • Hoffman, R. Joseph. Marcion, on the Restitution of Christianity: An Essay on the Development of Radical Paulist Theology in the Second Century 1984 ISBN 0-89130-638-2
  • Knox, John. Marcion and the New Testament 1942 ISBN 0-404-16183-9
  • Francis Legge, Forerunners and Rivals of Christianity, From 330 B.C. to 330 A.D. (1914), reprinted in two volumes bound as one, University Books New York, 1964. LCCN 64-24125.
  • Moll, Sebastian, The Arch-Heretic Marcion, Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 250, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2010 (Spanish translation: Marción. El primer hereje, Biblioteca de Estudios Bíblicos 145, Ediciones Sígueme, Salamanca 2014)
  • Livingstone, E.A. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed.), pp. 1033–34, 1997 ISBN 0-19-211655-X
  • Riparelli, Enrico, Il volto del Cristo dualista. Da Marcione ai catari, Peter Lang, Bern 2008, 368 pp. ISBN 978-3-03911-490-0
  • Sproul, R.C., How Then Shall We Worship?. Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2013. ISBN 978-1-4347-0424-5 p. 16
  • Williams, David Salter. "Reconsidering Marcion's Gospel", Journal of Biblical Literature 108 (1989), pp. 477–96
  • Wilson, R. S. Marcion: A Study of a Second-Century Heretic (London: Clarke) 1933

Further reading

External links

140s

The 140s decade ran from January 1, 140, to December 31, 149.

== Events ==

=== 140 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Antoninus Augustus Pius and Marcus Aurelius Caesar become Roman Consuls.

Antoninus Pius recognizes the king of the Quadi, who becomes an ally of Rome.

King Mithridates IV dies; Vologases III claims the throne and extends his rule throughout the Parthian Empire.

The export of olive oil from Hispania Baetica to Rome peaks.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Pope Pius I succeeds Pope Hyginus as the tenth pope.

Marcion arrives in Rome, bringing Evangelikon and Apostolikon to the Christian community.

====== Arts and sciences ======

Ptolemy completes his Almagest (approximate date).

=== 141 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina is constructed in Rome; the temple is dedicated to Faustina the Elder.

====== Asia ======

Last (6th) year of Yonghe era of the Chinese Han Dynasty.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Change of Patriarch of Constantinople from Felix of Byzantium to Polycarpus II of Byzantium.

====== Arts and Science ======

6th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet.

=== 142 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Antoninus Pius orders the construction of the Antonine Wall. The wall stretch 39 miles (63 km) from Old Kilpatrick in West Dunbartonshire on the Firth of Clyde to Carriden near Bo'ness on the Firth of Forth (Scotland). The Romans built nineteen forts and smaller fortlets (milecastles), to protect the border against the Caledonians.

Municipal doctors are named throughout the Roman Empire.

====== Asia ======

First year of the Hanan era of the Chinese Han Dynasty.

The Chinese Taoist alchemist Wei Boyang, author of the Kinship of the Three, is the first to describe an early form of gunpowder solution.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Marcion proclaims that the Old Testament is incompatible with Christianity.

=== 143 ===

Antoninus Pius serves as Roman Consul.

A revolt of the Brigantes tribe in Britannia is suppressed by Quintus Lollius Urbicus.

==== By topic ====

====== Medicine ======

The Roman doctor Antyllus performs the first arteriotomy.

=== 144 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Lucius Hedius Rufus Lollianus Avitus and Titus Statilius Maximus become Roman Consuls.

The Roman campaigns in Mauretania begin.

====== Asia ======

Change of era name from Hanan (3rd year) to Jiankang era of the Chinese Han Dynasty.

Change of emperor from Han Shundi to Han Chongdi of the Chinese Han Dynasty.

Reign of Kanishka, emperor of the Kushan Empire.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Change of Patriarch of Constantinople from Patriarch Polycarpus II to Patriarch Athendodorus.

Marcion of Sinope is excommunicated; a sect, Marcionism, grows out of his beliefs.

=== 145 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Antoninus Augustus Pius and Marcus Aurelius Caesar become Roman Consuls.

Marcus Aurelius marries Faustina the Younger, a daughter of Antoninus Pius.

Arrian becomes archon in Athens.

====== Asia ======

Change of era name from Jiankang (1st year) to Yongxi era of the Chinese Han Dynasty.

Change of emperor from Han Chongdi to Han Zhidi of the Chinese Han Dynasty.

Ajmere, India, is founded.

=== 146 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Faustina the Younger is given the title Augusta and becomes Roman Empress.

Marcus Aurelius receives the imperium proconsular.

====== Asia ======

Change of era name from Yongxi (1st year) to Benchu era of the Chinese Han Dynasty.

Change of emperor from Han Zhidi to Han Huandi of the Chinese Han Dynasty.

Chadae becomes ruler of the Korean kingdom of Goguryeo.

=== 147 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Marcus Aurelius receives imperial powers from the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius.

Festivals to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the founding of Rome begin.

Vologases III dies after a 42-year reign in which he has contended successfully with his rivals.

King Vologases IV, son of Mithridates IV of Parthia, unites under his rule the Parthian Empire.

====== Asia ======

First year of Jianhe of the Chinese Han Dynasty.

=== 148 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

The Emperor Antoninus Pius hosts a series of grand games to celebrate Rome's 900th anniversary.

====== Asia ======

An Shigao arrives in China.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Change of Patriarch of Constantinople from Patriarch Athendodorus to Patriarch Euzois.

=== 149 ===

144

Year 144 (CXLIV) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Rufus and Maximus (or, less frequently, year 897 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 144 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

160

Year 160 (CLX) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Atilius and Vibius (or, less frequently, year 913 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 160 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Acosmism

Acosmism, in contrast to pantheism, denies the reality of the universe, seeing it as ultimately illusory, (the prefix "a-" in Greek meaning negation; like "un-" in English), and only the infinite unmanifest Absolute as real. Conceptual versions of Acosmism are found in eastern and western philosophies.

Agnostic existentialism

Agnostic existentialism is a type of existentialism which makes no claim to know whether there is a "greater picture"; rather, it simply asserts that the greatest truth is that which the individual chooses to act upon. It feels that to know the greater picture, whether there is one or not, is impossible, or impossible so far, or of little value. Like the Christian existentialist, the agnostic existentialist believes existence is subjective.

Atheist's Wager

The Atheist's Wager, popularised by the philosopher Michael Martin and published in his 1990 book Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, is an atheistic response to Pascal's Wager regarding the existence of God.

One version of the Atheist's Wager suggests that since a kind and loving god would reward good deeds – and that if no gods exist, good deeds would still leave a positive legacy – one should live a good life without religion. Another formulation suggests that a god may reward honest disbelief and punish a dishonest belief in the divine.

Development of the New Testament canon

The canon of the New Testament is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and constituting the New Testament of the Christian Bible. For most, it is an agreed-upon list of twenty-seven books that includes the Canonical Gospels, Acts, letters of the Apostles, and Revelation. The books of the canon of the New Testament were written before 120 AD.For the Orthodox, the recognition of these writings as authoritative was formalized in the Second Council of Trullan of 692. The Catholic Church provided a conciliar definition of its Biblical canon in 382 at the (local) Council of Rome (based upon the Decretum Gelasianum of uncertain authorship)) as well as at the Council of Trent of 1545, reaffirming the Canons of Florence of 1442 and North African Councils (Hippo and Carthage) of 393–419. For the Church of England, it was made dogmatic on the Thirty-Nine Articles of 1563; for Calvinism, on the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647.

George I. Mavrodes

George I. Mavrodes is an American philosopher who is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Michigan.

God as the devil

In Christian heresiology, there have been historical claims that certain Christian sects worshipped the devil. This was especially an issue in the reaction of the early Church to Gnosticism and its dualism, where the creator deity is understood as a demiurge inferior to the actual, transcendent God.

Gospel of Marcion

The Gospel of Marcion, called by its adherents the Gospel of the Lord, was a text used by the mid-2nd-century Christian teacher Marcion of Sinope to the exclusion of the other gospels. So many Christian apologists wrote treatises against Marcion after his death that it has been possible to reconstruct almost the whole of Marcion's Gospel of the Lord from their quotations. Its reconstructed fragments now appear among the New Testament apocrypha.

List of ethicists

List of ethicists including religious or political figures recognized by those outside their tradition as having made major contributions to ideas about ethics, or raised major controversies by taking strong positions on previously unexplored problems.

All are known for an ethical work or problem, but a few are primarily authors or satirists, or known as a mediator, politician, futurist or scientist, rather than as an ethicist or philosopher. Some controversial figures are included, some of whom you may see as bad examples. A few are included because their names have become synonymous with certain ethical debates, but only if they personally elaborated an ethical theory justifying their actions.

List of philosophies

Philosophical schools of thought and philosophical movements.

Marcian (disambiguation)

Marcian (Marcianus) may be:

Saint Marcian of Tortona (d. 120)

Marcion of Sinope, 2nd century Christian heretic

Aelius Marcianus, 3rd century jurist

Lucius Aurelius Marcianus, 3rd century Roman soldier

Marcian of Heraclea, 4th century geographer

Marcianus (praefectus urbi), praefectus urbi of Rome in 409

Flavius Marcianus, Roman emperor (r. 450–457)

Marcian (usurper), tried to overthrow Emperor Zeno in 479

Marcian (cousin of Justin II), cousin of Justin II, fought as a general in the 572–591 Roman–Persian War

Marcionism

Marcionism was an Early Christian dualist belief system that originated in the teachings of Marcion of Sinope at Rome around the year 144.Marcion believed Jesus was the savior sent by God, and Paul the Apostle was his chief apostle, but he rejected the Hebrew Bible and the God of Israel. Marcionists believed that the wrathful Hebrew God was a separate and lower entity than the all-forgiving God of the New Testament.

Marcionism, similar to Gnosticism, depicted the God of the Old Testament as a tyrant or demiurge (see also God as the Devil). Marcion was the son of a bishop of Sinope in Pontus. About the middle of the second century (140–155) he traveled to Rome, where he joined the Syrian Gnostic Cerdo.Marcion's canon, possibly the first Christian canon ever compiled, consisted of eleven books: a gospel consisting of ten sections drawn from the Gospel of Luke; and ten Pauline epistles. Marcion's canon rejected the entire Old Testament, along with all other epistles and gospels of what would become the 27-book New Testament canon, which during his life had yet to be compiled. Paul's epistles enjoy a prominent position in the Marcionite canon, since Paul was considered by Marcion to be Christ's only true apostle.Marcionism was denounced by its opponents as heresy and written against – notably by Tertullian in a five-book treatise, Adversus Marcionem (Against Marcion), in about 208. Marcion's writings are lost, though they were widely read and numerous manuscripts must have existed. Even so, many scholars claim it is possible to reconstruct and deduce a large part of ancient Marcionism through what later critics, especially Tertullian, said concerning Marcion.

Markus Vinzent

Markus Vinzent (born 1959) is a historian of religion (specializing in early Christianity, Patristics and Medieval Studies, Historiography, Retromodernity, Religion and Business). He is professor in the Department of Theology & Religious Studies at King's College London, and fellow of the Max Weber Center for Advanced Social and Cultural Studies, Erfurt, Germany.

Natural-law argument

Natural-law argument for the existence of God was especially popular in the eighteenth century as a result of the influence of Sir Isaac Newton. As Bertrand Russell pointed out much later, many of the things we consider to be laws of nature, in fact, are human conventions. Indeed, Albert Einstein has shown that Newton's law of universal gravitation was such a convention, and though elegant and useful, one that did not describe the universe precisely. Most true laws are rather trivial, such as mathematical laws, laws of probability, and so forth, and much less impressive than those that were envisioned by Newton and his followers. Russell wrote:

"If you say, as more orthodox theologians do, that in all the laws which God issues he had a reason for giving those laws rather than others -- the reason, of course, being to create the best universe, although you would never think it to look at it -- if there was a reason for the laws which God gave, then God himself was subject to law, and therefore you do not get any advantage by introducing God as an intermediary. You really have a law outside and anterior to the divine edicts, and God does not serve your purpose, because he is not the ultimate law-giver. In short, this whole argument from natural law no longer has anything like the strength that it used to have."The argument of natural laws as a basis for God was changed by Christian figures such as Thomas Aquinas, in order to fit biblical scripture and establish a Judeo-Christian teleological law.

Nicholas Wolterstorff

Nicholas Wolterstorff (born January 21, 1932) is an American philosopher and a liturgical theologian. He is currently Noah Porter Professor Emeritus Philosophical Theology at Yale University. A prolific writer with wide-ranging philosophical and theological interests, he has written books on aesthetics, epistemology, political philosophy, philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and philosophy of education. In Faith and Rationality, Wolterstorff, Alvin Plantinga, and William Alston developed and expanded upon a view of religious epistemology that has come to be known as Reformed epistemology. He also helped to establish the journal Faith and Philosophy and the Society of Christian Philosophers.

Theological noncognitivism

Theological noncognitivism is the position that religious language – specifically, words such as "God" – are not cognitively meaningful. It is sometimes considered synonymous with ignosticism.

Wilfred Monod

William Frédéric Monod better known as Wilfred Monod (1867, Paris - 1943) was a Protestant Professor of theology associated to Paris and Rouen. He founded the Order of Watchers and was active in ecumenical efforts in France. He once suggested a desire for the rehabilitation of Marcion of Sinope and a removal of omnipotence and omnipresence from the conception of God. These ideas were quite controversial. He was also the father of Théodore Monod.

He was a Christian pacifist.

 
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