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"The Gospel of Marcion"

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by Ishraqiyun, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. Ishraqiyun

    Ishraqiyun Fanning the Divine Spark

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    I was just reading an article on the so called "Gospel of Marcion" (or as Marcion called it "The Gospel of the Lord") the general opinion for centuries seemed to have been that he altered the Gospel of Luke by removing the verses he didn't agree with but it seems scholars are more open now to the idea that it might actually have been an earlier Gospel than Luke that came from Paul and that only later came into Marcions possession.

    http://www.marcionite-scripture.info/CW_2.htm
    Did Marcion mutilate the Gospel of Luke? « Vridar
    Marcion and Luke-Acts: a defining struggle - Joseph B. Tyson - Google Books
     
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  2. Michael Collum

    Michael Collum Everything began with a voice, use yours Supporter

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    This kinda looks like a missing link between Mark and Luke, and the canonized Luke's similarity to Matthew. this is very interesting . thanks :)
     
  3. Xpistis sopheiaX

    Xpistis sopheiaX Newbie

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    From what little I know about Marcion, he seems very fascinating. I would love to know if there is any direct connection between Marcion and early Gnostics.
     
  4. Soulgazer

    Soulgazer Christian Gnostic

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    Xpistis, Marcionism was probably the most influential teaching of early Christianity. If there is a direct connection between Marcionism and the various schools that we label "Gnostic", that connection would be Paul. Marcion's father knew Paul. Valentinius knew Theodas who knew Paul. In fact, where ever Paul taught, there are similarities in teaching;

    We have to first understand that Judaism was not one religion; the scripture put forth today as the "Old Testament" was used by one portion of Judaism. The Jews of the Tarsus region where Paul was from believed in a demiurgic figure and were more Hellenized than the temple Judaism which Paul despised. Couple this with Paul's teachings which discourage the use of the Torah, and his own statement in which he claimed to "appear to a Greek as a Greek", and the more mythical symbolism common to both Marcionism and the other schools is more easily understood as far as origin.

    The similarities kind of end there though; Everybody, and I do mean everybody, took scripture in an allegorical manner, except for Marcion. He was a literalist to the umph degree. By being a literalist, he successfully proved that the God of Jesus was not the God of the Old Testament. Catholic leaders hated him for this, because this just about entirely negated their authority, and came quite close to wiping them out.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  5. Michael Collum

    Michael Collum Everything began with a voice, use yours Supporter

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    Well Marcion was branded a heretic for his antisemitism, the church rejected his idea that the jewish portions of the scripture were added to the gospels and letters later on .

    today a similar observation is coming out through textual criticism .

    it's not really anti jewish .. it's just anti addition i think .. there's something noble to seeking the source .

    since heretic's stuff gets burned quite often, all you get is the church father who heretiqued him's commentary .

    So it's hard to say if he was really racist in the same way gnostics were mysogenistic .
     
  6. Soulgazer

    Soulgazer Christian Gnostic

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    Gnostics were no more misogynistic than anybody else. Less so. Certainly Tertullian had a fit when he found out that Marcionites allowed women preachers. Of course he and Ireneus were loonie toonies anyway, but they are often written about as if we should admire them. Personally, I believe that they had a direct hand in forging the Pastorals, since they are obviously so anti-Marcionite.

    I don't think that Marcion cut anything. I believe that his scriptures were just the way that he received them. I will tell you why I believe so; it was common practice to make additions or "clarifications" to scriptures, even the Gospels.(Look at the end of John 17:3). However, it was NOT common practice to "cut" things.

    Here I side with the scholars who believe that the "Gospel of the Lord" was not unique to Marcion, but extant also at the time of Luke.(I am a late dater for Luke) In the opening verses of Luke, the author says that Gospels were delivered to him--- I would agree that the "Gospel of the Lord" was the Gospel that served as his base, and the author of Luke added in the stories that he was familiar with that did not appear in it.

    The Author of "Luke" also addresses "Theophilus"; and uses the title "Most Excellent". This would indicate Bishop Theophilus of Antioch, who was Bishop long after Marcion had passed.

    Why would Marcion keep some Jewish stuff and not others? That theory just cannot seem to hold water. Fortunately attempts are being made to reconstruct the epistles as he had them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  7. Michael Collum

    Michael Collum Everything began with a voice, use yours Supporter

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    Having looked at the variants i'd say it was a gospel in the hands of a number of people also .
     
  8. Ishraqiyun

    Ishraqiyun Fanning the Divine Spark

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    When Paul used the term "Gentile" he was generally speaking symbolically of Pneumatic Christians and when the term Jew was used it was often a symbolic reference to psychic Christians who worshiped the creation (the demiurge or god of non-gnostic Jews) rather than the Creator (the Father). The psychic Christians could only receive the milk for babes or the kerygma of Christ crucified. The Pneumatic Christians where given the meat or solid food teaching which was the "Sophia revealed to Initiates" spoken of by Paul. At least this seems to be the view of the Valentinians see Elaine Pagels "The Gnostic Paul" for more information.
     
  9. Ishraqiyun

    Ishraqiyun Fanning the Divine Spark

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  10. Michael Collum

    Michael Collum Everything began with a voice, use yours Supporter

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    ^_^ Irony .
     
  11. Ishraqiyun

    Ishraqiyun Fanning the Divine Spark

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    Yeah, I thought that was kind of funny too.
     
  12. ElijahW

    ElijahW Newbie

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    I see him as a bit of an antisemitic, not really in a racist sense but he is definitely the leader of not giving the Jews the benefit of the doubt when it came to the understanding of God they were presenting in their scripture. Orthodox Christianity is birthed out of taking the OT texts allegorically, while Marcion took them more literal and said the God they were presenting in the OT was a false God. The Catholics went more the way of Philo and interpreted the texts instead of taking them literal.

    I also would need to see some outstanding evidence that shows he gathered the data to come up the the first Gospel, that were later added onto to made orthodox. Cutting texts down by taking out the idea you don't agree with is easy so we should expect to it to have happened. And we should also expect if the orthodox Christians took texts allegorically then those that opposed them ideologically would do so because they didn't.

    There was a camp who was concerned about validating Jesus to the Jews as the messiah and there was a camp that was for throwing the Jews under the bus for the God they were worshiping that required sacrifice. The camp that came to dominate was the one that appealed to the Jews instead of trying to make an example out of their texts. I can see the benefit to both because if Marcionism had won, we certainly wouldn't be dominated by the irrational understanding of God that we are now in the west. But I also think the Jews would have been obliterated if Marcionism is what took over Rome.
     
  13. Ishraqiyun

    Ishraqiyun Fanning the Divine Spark

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    The more I study the more assured I become that Paul taught gnosis in private and that this tradition was passed down to the likes of Marcion and Valentinius. I think Valentinus really deserves the title Saint and I think of him as a second Paul of sorts. Not only was he inline from the apostolic tradition passed on from Paul to Theudas but he also , like Paul, personally met the Lord in a powerful visionary experience. I think he was trying to steer the Christian movement, which was at the time careening out of control, back in line with the esoteric Pauline teaching. Valentinus was teaching more to an inner group of Christian initiates whereas Marcion was directing his teaching to the masses. Both of them were trying to steer Christianity back on course because those without gnosis were rejecting the inner mysteries all together and were turning the faith into a literalist fundamentalist sect.

    I believe that the Gnosticism itself pre-existed Christianity and that Christianity developed within that milliue. I believe that Paul was instrumental in forming the new Jesus current of Gnosticism making use of both older Sethian Jewish and other Jewish mystic traditions ( like the Theraputae etc..) and bringing it inline with the new Christic revelation.

    On a related note I find it humorous when people claim that the early Christians couldn't have been Gnostic because Gnosticism didn't exist back then but then these same people go on to talk about Simon Magus being a gnostic and then claim that some of the Pauline Epistles (the Pastoral Epistles) were written to critique Gnostic ideas! How could someone believe both at the same time? People were critiquing something that was non-existent at the time?!
     
  14. Ishraqiyun

    Ishraqiyun Fanning the Divine Spark

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    He didn't think highly of the exoteric form of Judaism that honored the creator of this earth whom he considered the demiurge. The idea of a lesser being having formed the world isn't limited to Christianity though. You see the same thing in certain Hindu traditions for example. I don't think it was embraced specifically because he didn't like Judaism so much as he thought the idea was more philosophically and spiritualy realistic. In fact there were gnostic streams of Judaism that said the exact same thing.

    He took the behaviors of the being described more literally perhaps and wouldn't (what he would consider at least) "make excuses" for him.

    Philo himself posited the creation of this world by a demiurge. Probably borrowed the idea from the philosophic ideas of Plato. He just allegorized the OT to make it more inline with his philosophical ideas rather than rejecting it.

    The Valentinians whose teachings were more esoteric in nature than the public teachings of Marcion did make use of certain teachings from the OT interpreted allegorically. They thought that some of the OT came from the demiurge, some from the opinions of men, and some actually filtered down from the Fullness and the higher aeons. Needless to say there were many truths to be found it if you had the right key (which the Jews didn't have). The key being knowledge of the Father who transcends the demiurge.
     
  15. ElijahW

    ElijahW Newbie

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    I don’t think there is a metaphysical outlook difference going on between Marcion and Philo or NT Paul and Valentinus. Almost everyone for a long time at that point believed in an intermediary between God and the creation. The difference between Marcion and Philo is that one believes that Mosses understood about the intermediary and one didn’t. Marcion had what you may label Gnostic beliefs but if you look at the reconstruction of Galatians you provided, he is still doing a salvation with faith in the sacrifice of Christ, versus the salvation from obedience to the law. Marcion is almost orthodox, except for the interpretation of the OT. While Valentinus is a true Gnostic because he doesn’t believe in the salvation by faith in Jesus but by knowledge of, and return to the plemora.

    You are correct that Marcion and Valentinus didn’t think the Jews at the time had the keys but Philo proves that to be bunk because he did.
     
  16. Soulgazer

    Soulgazer Christian Gnostic

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    I will agree with everything you said, except about valentinian theology. According to Valentinian theology, Jesus brought the knowledge of God; not some "secret" as the detractors of Gnostic faith claim, but the firm belief, rightly or wrongly, that God can only be known by the words and actions of Jesus Christ.* Since Jesus Christ was unknown to those that came before, all that was written about God, from whatever source, must be erroneous, otherwise there was no need for Jesus to come at all. This theology was based on scripture, some of it recognized. As both Valentinious and Marcion were students of the Pauline schools of thought, they naturally favored this theology.

    The two schools of thought, that Jesus fulfilled the law(James and gang), or Jesus replaced the law(Paul) were really at odds with each other for the first hundred and fifty years.

    *Oh, such great teaching! He abases himself even unto death, though he is clothed in eternal life. Having divested himself of these perishable rags, he clothed himself in incorruptibility, which no one could possibly take from him. Having entered into the empty territory of fears, he passed before those who were stripped by forgetfulness, being both knowledge and perfection, proclaiming the things that are in the heart of the Father, so that he became the wisdom of those who have received instruction. ~Gospel of Truth
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  17. Ishraqiyun

    Ishraqiyun Fanning the Divine Spark

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    You have a point. I should have been more specific. It was the more traditional or orthodox Jews who lacked the proper keys. Those who totally re-interpreted the Jewish tradition on Platonic and Pythagorean lines like Philo were a little closer to the truth. Philo recognized the creation of this world by a demiurge or lesser being but he wasn't willing to say Jehovah = the demiurge. The Gnostic Jews who formed the milieu in which Christianity was first formulated went further and recognized that the angry, jealous, violent and all to human being described in many of the verses of the Torah was in fact the demiurge and not the highest God. These folks were spot on imo.
     
  18. ElijahW

    ElijahW Newbie

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    I would agree with Valentinian thought Jesus was teaching something new and that there was salvation in that teaching/gnosis. Marcion still looks like he is staying orthodox with the faith issue in the reconstructed texts but still gets accused by Church fathers of requiring belief in a particular understanding/gnosis of God for salvation.

    The information being unknown and being the source of salvation was a problem because it not only excluded Abraham from the inheritance but everyone who was alive before Marcion or Val brought the truth to the world.

    Vain, too, is [the effort of] Marcion and his followers when they [seek to] exclude Abraham from the inheritance,” Irenaeus
    I don’t look at Marcion or Valentinious being a school of Pauline thought but all of them would fall under the umbrella of Greek philosophy but I’m not what idea you consider particular to Paul.

    “Indeed heresies are themselves instigated by philosophy. From this source came the Æons, and I known not what infinite forms, and the trinity of man in the system of Valentinus, who was of Plato's school. From the same source came Marcion's better god, with all his tranquillity; he came of the Stoics. Then, again, the opinion that the soul dies is held by the Epicureans; while the denial of the restoration of the body is taken from the aggregate school of all the philosophers; also, when matter is made equal to God, then you have the teaching of Zeno; and when any doctrine is alleged touching a god of fire, then Heraclitus comes in.” Tertullian
    I think they were really at odds with each other within Judaism but outside amongst the Gentiles the Gnostic issue was going to pop up more because the gentiles were going to interpret what Jesus was doing from the perspective they are familiar with which was Greek philosophy. The philosopher-king was the ideal king and philosophy was seen as the source to an individual’s salvation so they just interpreted Jesus as trying to teach what they thought was the key to salvation.

    Jewish thinkers on the other hand didn't have philosophers as role models, like they did with the Law givers of their nation, so they were interpreting what Jesus was doing from that legalistic perspective. Catholics comes up with the faith concept leading to salvation, which may be invented by Paul because I haven’t found the idea before him.
     
  19. ElijahW

    ElijahW Newbie

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    I like the term Hellenized if you’re looking one to describe the Jews influenced by Greek thought.

    I don’t know how often Philo used the term demiurge. I would probably need to learn some Greek. I think “Logos” or as often translated to “The Word” is the label he would use for the intermediary. Also maybe not the originator of the idea but he shows the expectation of a person who would embody the Word.

    “And even if there be not as yet any one who is worthy to be called a son of God, nevertheless let him labour earnestly to be adorned according to his first-born word, the eldest of his angels, as the great archangel of many names; for he is called, the authority, and the name of God, and the Word, and man according to God's image, and he who sees Israel. “ Philo, Confusion of tongues.
    Which makes Christ in a way the embodiment of the demiurge.

    “For Christ is, in a manner, the demiurge, to whom the Father says, Let there be light, and Let there be a firmament. But Christ is demiurge as a beginning (arche), inasmuch as He is wisdom.” Origen, Commentary on Matt​
     
  20. ElijahW

    ElijahW Newbie

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    Could I get a little more clarity on what you think they were spot on about? Is this violent God meant to be understood with human emotions that comes from taking the texts literal? A guy in the sky with a bad attitude?
     
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