Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Marcionite Paradigm Unveiled

I find most New Testament scholarship absolutely unbearable.  The facts of the matter are that we necessarily find ourselves engaging in a series of 'educated guesses' whenever we attempt to 'connect the dots' between the age of Christ (c. 37 CE) and the origins of the Catholic tradition (c. 150 CE).  Anyone who denies that this is the case is an idiot.  Looking back at the origins of Christianity is very much like forward to married life on your wedding day - you really have no clue what is going to hit you because you have absolutely no frame of reference.

Yet because New Testament scholarship develops from 'faith' everyone walks around believing that all the finer details have already been solved.  Oh here is 'the historical Jesus' from the canonical gospels.  And look, over there is 'the apostle Paul' from the canonical Acts of the Apostles.  Already we can start drawing our line to just before the time of the destruction of the Jewish temple.  Only a few more years to go until the death of the apostle John ...

Hasn't anyone told these dimwits that there is an entirely different historical paradigm that existed before and alongside our inherited Catholic template?  On what grounds then, can the Marcionite 'version' of history be dismissed?  Oh of course - it's not represented in our 'New Testament canon,' that utterly imbecilic 'time capsule' from the gathering of ass-kissing patriarchs and bishops a stone's throw from the Imperial summer residence at Lake Nicaea. 

Well as unfortunate as that historical situation is - i..e that the 'Marcionite tradition' was not represented at Nicaea - it hardly shuts the door on the question of whether this most ancient Christian school of thought might haved preserved a more accurate portrait of the original paradim of Christianity.  The Nicaean Creed was ultimately a compromise position.  Compromises may be politically expedient but they can hardly be imagined to preserve the truth about anything.  If I want to go to Disneyworld for a vacation and my wife argues for Las Vegas, settling on Branson, Missouri tells the reader almost nothing about our original positions.

To this end, let us reveal the most basic cornerstone of the Marcionite paradigm - the idea that the same historical author who wrote the apostolikon (the core group of so-called 'Pauline letters' of our canon) also wrote the lost original gospel.  The sloppy, unsophisticated way of expressing this idea is to say that the Marcionites believed that Paul wrote the gospel.  But I have never been sure that the Marcionite identified their apostle by the name 'Paul.'  I think Irenaeus makes it very explicit that this might not have been the case (AH 3.15).

I think it is very important that we don't tamper with the crime scene by sprinkling a lot of prejudicial assumptions on matters.  The core Marcionite formula is as follows:

'the apostle' = 'the gospel' + 'the apostolikon'

This is all that can be said with any certainty.  The very name 'Marcionite' has always looked to me an awful lot like a corrupt acknowledgement that the community was really 'of' or 'associated with St. Mark.'  As Mark is generally acknowledged to be the first gospel - and the author of the Philosophumena goes out of his way to deny a report that the Marcionite gospel was 'according to Mark' - it is my opinion that it is highly probable that the Marcionites held fast to some ancient 'mega-gospel' of St. Mark which resembled a fusion of the texts of Markand Luke with important bits of John sprikled in. 

This isn't the time for me to dredge up all the references in the Church Fathers which suggest that the Marcionite gospel looked like any one of these texts.  Let the reader be assured that these references do exist and I have spent the greater part of my life researching and thinking about them.  I think that most of the rest of scholarship has always got hung up on the sacredness of our inherited canon.  They represent something akin to 'family jewels' which must be rescued and passed on to future generations. 

Where most scholars see Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as the oldest literary witnesses I see them as something very different.  I see the fourfold gospel as nothing short of an artificial attempt to 'break apart' a tradition of ever expanding gospels.  Clement of Alexandria's 'secret' Alexandrian gospel of Mark, Justin's 'hypomnemata of the apostles,' Tatian's so-called 'Diatessaron,' the legendary Alexandrian composite gospel associated with Ammonius - even the 'Gospel of John' which Polycarp must have brought with him to Rome on his visit in 147 CE.  All these texts have one thing in common - they represent gospel narratives developed from more than one original source. 

While this idea now sounds like a cacophonous chord to our inherited sensibilities, it perfectly embodies the tastes of the age.  What else was Papias suggesting when he speaks of preferring to seek out eyewitnesses to the words and deeds of the Lord?  Does anyone really think that if he came across what he felt was an authentic nugget of information about Jesus that he wouldn't have just added it to his community's already patchwork gospel narrative.  Of course he would have and so would his contemporaries. 

It is my contention then it is impossible given the contemporary character of Christian interest in 'seeking after knowledge' of their Lord, that anything resembling 'pure' original apostolic witness texts could even have been possible at the time Irenaeus claims to have assembled the material which makes up our canon.  That the canonical gospel 'according to John' somehow managed to resist the temptation to incorporate a greater amount of synoptic material seems utterly suspicious to me.  Indeed the absurdity is most plainly evident when John's witness at the Transfiguration is somehow 'removed' from the apostle's own gospel.

Indeed it is when we read the end of the narrative of John and we come across its 'double conclusion' that Trobisch's insight seems most accute.  First that John 21:24 represents the conclusion to John's gospel:

This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

Then what follows marks the closing words of a highly edited set of four texts that are meant to be read as one gospel:

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. 

The point here as Trobisch rightly notes, we can't be dealing with just an 'honest' assembly of four ancient texts left the way the 'final editor' of the canon originally found them.  They represent rather a single gospel being assembled as four.  Whatever was originally in front of the final editor it has been reshaped and assembled into a specific quadraform 'editorial concept.'

The point is that Irenaeus had inherited this interest in the number four from Jewish, pagan and heretical predecessors. It was the 'right' number for the gospel to divided into because of the number of winds, heavenly creatures which adorned the throne and who knows what else, but there certainly weren't just four original gospels when Irenaeus started.  The final editor had a specific image of what the truth and he shaped his material accordingly.  The first gospel was written with the idea in mind of representing what Jewish-Christianity should embody.  The second paltry gospel was established to prove that Mark was ultimately subordinate to Peter.  The third gospel was developed to systematically refute the intepretation of the original tradition associated with the apostle.  The fourth gospel was developed to prove that Polycarp got the last word in the contemporary debate over Christian truth.  There is nothing 'real' about the shape of this fourfold division of the gospel.  It was invented in Irenaeus's mind's eye as something 'useful for the promulgation of the faith.'

The New Testament canon is thus a living testament to a very specific theological point of view where Paul assumes an important, but ultimately subordinate role within the Christian community.  How very different must the apostle have appeared to the so-called 'Marcionites.'  Here is the man who received the 'unspeakable' vision from which the Church originally developed.  He is called the Apostle because he stands like Moses at the head of a new Israel.  He is called the Evangelist (mevasser) because was ultimately messianic in character (Isa 52.7).  Moreover he is identified as the Paraclete (menachem) because he was the Christ of the Marcionite community (Origen Hom. Luc 25.5). 

The longer one looks at the evidence of the original beliefs of the Marcionite the more easily we can disentangle our inherited Catholic assumptions.  In the end we are left wondering - was 'Marcion' Paul?  Or perhaps better yet do both inherited figures derive their origins from a massively aggrandized Alexandrian St. Mark?  For why is it necessary at all to imagine Marcion as a mere 'servant' of the memory of our Catholic St. Paul?  On more than one occassion our surviving Patristic witnesses report Marcion assuming the role of Paul in the community.  It is only because of our inherited assumption about Paul and the make up of the apostolic community which come from sources the Marcionites not only didn't use but vehemently rejected as entirely spurious.

Eznik of Kolb for instance questions the heretical belief that Marcion heard the 'unspeakable words' (2 Cor 13.2) that Catholics believed were addressed only to Paul.  Origen is so confused by conflicting Marcionite reports that both 'Paul' and 'Marcion' were enthroned at Jesus's right hand that he places them each at one hand of the Lord.  Tertullian doesn't know what to make of Marcion's role in the tradition.  Marcion defies traditional classification so he ends up throwing his hands up in dispair declaring "for even if Marcion were a disciple, he is not above his master: and if Marcion were an apostle, Whether it were I, says Paul, or they, so we preach; and if Marcion were a prophet, even the spirits of the prophets have to be subject to the prophets, for they are not of subversion but of peace: even if Marcion were an angel, he is more likely to be called anathema than gospel-maker, seeing he has preached a different gospel." [Against Marcion 4.5] 

Tertullian happens to be the source of most of our information about the Marcionites however his testimony is very confusing at time.  Irenaeus only reinforces the basic key message that it is paradoxical that in rejecting 'the total gospel' (i.e. the quadriform gospel) they can still claim to be partakers in its message. [AH 3.11.9]  The introduction of Luke - a document which seems to bundle together all their most popular scriptural 'proof texts' and provide contrary readings which refute their interpretations - is obviously polemic and tainted with malice.  It hardly represents a serious textual tradition.  Indeed Tertullian himself draws from a tradition that sees Marcion very actively involved in a late gospel tradition - a gospel text introduced subsequent to the establishment of the gospel in the name of the apostles.    This sounds eerily reminiscent of the secret Mark formulation of to Theodore and the vague rejection of such late witnesses which claim the apostolic understanding was imperfect in Irenaeus AH 3.3.2.

The fact that the Catholic sources so repeatedly 'call out' the Marcionites for having a gospel from a period subsequent to the apostolic period, one may begin to suspect that there was some kernel of truth here.  As we noted earlier, the early Christians - even the Marcionites - might have taken pride that their gospel was the 'final word' on all attempts to encapsulate the teaching of Jesus.  So Tertullian's revelling in the fact that "our version of it [the gospel] is to such an extent older than Marcion that Marcion himself once believed it" [AM 4.4] might not necessarily have developed from the later Irenaean paradigm that the Marcionite gospel was a bastard copy of the gospel of Luke.  It might well have developed from the formulation in to Theodore and AH 3.3.2 where it represents instead an expansion of a legendary text that Mark wrote for Peter in Rome. 

Indeed there are clearly many layers to the existing Against Marcion collection.  The opening words of the collection make clear that the present work marks the completion of at least three revisions of the lost original material.  The argument that 'the gospel of Marcion' is a corruption of Luke is as noted above only the most recent layer, clearly added to bring the material into line with Irenaean doctrine.  The older substrata clearly compare the text to a Petrine original and an underlying struggle between 'Marcion' curiously and the church of Peter dating back to apostolic times:

and on this ground Marcion strives hard to overthrow the credit of those gospels which are the apostles' own and are published under their names, or even the names of apostolic men, with the intention no doubt of conferring on his own gospel the repute which he takes away from those others. And yet, even if there is censure of Peter and John and James, who were esteemed as pillars, the reason is evident. It was that they appeared to be altering their manner of life through respect of persons. Yet since Paul himself made himself all things to all men so that he might gain them all, Peter too may well have had this in mind in acting in some respect differently from his manner of teaching. And besides, if false apostles also had crept in, their character too is indicated: they were insisting on circumcision, and the Jewish calendar. So it was not for their preaching but for their forms of activity that they were marked down as wrong by Paul, though he would no less have marked them wrong if they had been in any error on the subject of God the Creator, or of his Christ. Therefore we have to distinguish between the two cases.  If Marcion's complaint is that the apostles are held suspect of dissimulation or pretence, even to the debasing of the gospel, he is now accusing Christ, by thus accusing those whom Christ has chosen. [Against Marcion 4.4]

The Marcionite explanation of the 'correction effort' embodied in their gospel has nothing at all to do with Irenaeus's claims about a pre-existent 'gospel of Luke' but rather seems to be rooted in a repeal of a gospel associated with Peter filled with what Marcion identified as 'Jewish errors.' 

It is important to note that Tertullian never once speaks of Marcion 'upholding the original beliefs of Paul' or an original gospel of Paul.  Indeed to the contrary Tertullian goes out of his way to acknowledge that the Marcionite furiously deny that theirs was a 'gospel of Paul.'  The title of the Marcionite gospel was certainly found in the opening words of Mark - viz. 'the gospel of Jesus' or something to this effect.  Tertullian only describes the Marcionite identification of the text in the most generic terms - viz. 'the gospel of the Lord.' [Against Marcion  ]  The important thing to see is that when we turn to the parallel discussion in the so-called Dialogues of Adamantius we see the same underlying connection to the Markan gospel tradition (which as Williams has already noted is also reflected in the consistent agreement of Marcionite 'variant readings of Luke' actually agreeing with so-called western readings of Mark; the point here is that only if we compare Marcion's text to Luke does it often appear to be an aberration). 

The pertinent discussion in Dialogues begins at the section marked 829a where the pagan arbitrator establishes that the Marcionite did not disparage the gospel of Mark:

How is it, that your party do not accept those who were sent out by Christ to preach and proclaim the Gospel, yet you do accept one for whom you offer no proof? Why is it that you disparage Matthew and John, whose names are recorded in Scripture, and whom Christ sent out to preach and proclaim the Gospel, but accept Paul, for whom you have no proof? Surely this is ridiculous?

Matthew and John are singled out by the arbitrator and the Marcionite representative does eventually acknowledge that while they may have preached an 'oral gospel' only the only disciple who formulated written texts was 'Christ.' 

There is no doubt among scholars that Dialogues is hopelessly corrupt.  Nevertheless it is very interesting that the Gospel of Mark is spared any criticism by the Marcionite representative.  This agrees with what we have already brought forward from the Philosophumena - namely that Marcionites were claiming they had the true Mark.  What is more interesting about Dialogues is that - even in the present corrupt state of the manuscript - there is a clear sense that the debate about the Marcionite gospel sounds eerily familiar to debates about the origin of the Gospel of Mark in Patristic literature. 

The arbitrator again asks "Is Peter the one who wrote the gospel?  How is it then that you claimed that the apostles taught without being recorded?"  Of course no one raises any eyebrows today when the Marcionite declares that "Christ, not Peter, wrote the gospel."  Yet it is impossible now not to get the sense that the lost original debate was really delving into the origins of the Gospel of Mark here.  As Petty notes "one is reminded here of the statement of Papias of Hierapolis (ca. 130) that Mark was the "interpreter of Peter" (Eusebius, Hist, eccles., 3, 39). In this sense only could Peter be truly said to have written the Gospel."  As such the rejection of Matthew and John as spurious texts false written in the name of witnesses to Jesus, is followed by a discussion as to whether the Marcionite gospel has its origins in a text by Peter.  The parallels with the formulations of Clement and Irenaeus are particularly striking.

In the end the Catholic participant in the debate gives us one last glance at the lost original Marcionite paradigm when he angrily dismisses their abovementioned formulation of the authorship of the gospel:

But how does he say that the Christ has written the gospel? For he who wrote the gospel did not indicate himself, he indicates the one he is proclaiming – Christ Jesus.

In other words, the Catholic assumes that the author of the gospel was composing a text which laid out an argument for Jesus's claim to being the Christ.  Dialogue makes clear that the Marcionites did not think that was the case.  On more than one occassion the Marcionites pointed to Jesus's rejection of those who identified him as the Christ.  To this end, we must assume that the author of the gospel has written the text to make manifest his own claims to being the messiah with Jesus - God the Father come down to earth- as his chief witness.

We are now in back to the place where we began albeit with some additional information about the Marcionite paradigm - the author of the Gospel of Jesus was also the author of the Apostolikon but his purpose was not to argue that Jesus was the Christ.  After all, the Marcionites understood Jesus to have been God and only Catholics are stupid enough to promulgate the notion that God could be the messiah (i.e. that the referee could score the winning goal!).  Christ was the Son of God because his adoption through baptism marked the beginning of new covenant of Christianity. Yet we have to at long last recognize that the Marcionite position necessarily assumes that the author's purpose in writing the gospel was ultimately self-serving albeit no less self-serving that Moses's authorship of the Torah.  The author was saying ultimately 'I am the one like Moses' (cf Deut 18:18) i.e. the messiah. 

Once that little bit of historical revision gets out of the way we can appreciate a related feature of the Marcionite paradigm - when the apostle says 'my gospel' (Rom 2.16; 16.25) and references 'the gospel I preach' (Gal 1.11 et al) he certainly doesn't mean some loose oral teaching but a written document which established himself as the second Moses of the contemporary 'new Israel.'

Indeed the clearest sign that the Marcionite paradigm is historically accurate - i.e. that the author of the Apostolikon wrote the original gospel - manifests itself in 2 Corinthians chapter 4.  For here in verse 6 there is a strange reference to some declaration by God which is traditionally misrepresented as a citation of the opening words of Genesis:

ὅτι ὁ θεὸς ὁ εἰπών· ἐκ σκότους φῶς λάμψει, ὃς ἔλαμψεν ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν πρὸς φωτισμὸν τῆς γνώσεως τῆς δόξης τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν προσώπῳ Χριστοῦ.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ

It is impossible to believe that the Apostle is actually referencing Genesis 1:4b for a number of reasons.  Yet given that we are investigating only the Marcionite interpretation of these words, it is enough to close the book on this possibility for them at least given the fact that they were so vehemently opposed to identifying their god with the god of the Torah. 

Indeed if we look for a moment at the LXX version of the text that Apostle most certainly employed we read:

καὶ διεχώρισεν ὁ θεὸς ἀνὰ μέσον τοῦ φωτὸς καὶ ἀνὰ μέσον τοῦ σκότους
The LXX is very specific here - 'God divided between the light and the darkness' or perhaps 'God divided between the light and between the darkness.'   This is very different from what the Apostle is referencing when he understands God to have declared somewhere that 'the light shines out of darkness.'  The Marcionites rightly pointed to the Jewish god essentially accepting a world where light and dark coexisted with one another.  The vision the Apostle has in mind is that of the light emerging from a worldy darkness as we see manifested in the prologue which is now attached to the Gospel of John. 

Indeed I am certain that the Apostle is indeed referencing the first words of his gospel.  The Marcionites certainly would have thought this more appropriate than referencing the words of the Jewish scriptures.  A number of scholars have pointed to the difficulties associating the words with Genesis 1:4b.  Perhaps this is the right moment for us to look at the exact terminology here:

και το φως εν τη σκοτια φαινει και η σκοτια αυτο ου κατελαβεν

While the terminology is not an exact fit, it is no more inexact than the material in the LXX of Genesis.  We must also remember that the original language of John was certainly not Greek but Aramaic.  Origen's citation of Heracleon's version of the same material has a number of variations from our existing text.  Most important however is the fact that the Apostle was certainly not directly citing his gospel but rather pointing to the underlying sense of the opening words - i.e. that God declared light to continue to shine out of darkness.  In other words it had a deep and mystical signfiicance for the community which is why it is followed with the idea that this same 'light' has "shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."

It should be noted right out of the starting gate that nehira or 'light' is a well attested Jewish name for 'the messiah.'  The source of the reference is Daniel 2:22 where referencing God Daniel declares that:

He revealeth the deep and secret things; He knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with Him.

This perhaps the closest concept to what is being described at the beginning of the gospel. The messiah (the Light) is originally 'with God' he comes down into a particular individual - the Onlyborn - and tabernacles ultimately in his soul.  This is the sense that the Jewish interpreters gave to the passage such as R. Aba Serungia in Bereshit Rabba 1 (fol. 1,3) who mentioning this passage, "and the light dwelleth with him", adds, this is the King Messiah, as it is said, "arise, shine" and his commentator Yade Moseh  observes, that the sense of it is "he (God) retains the Messiah with himself, and does not send him forth unto us."  In short, confirming the context of the opening words of the gospel.

The deeper we delve into the original Aramaic of the gospel the more the underlying connection between the opening words of the gospel and 2 Cor 4:6 become clear.  The Peshitta uses the Syriac verb dnh as the equivalent of the Greek λάμψει or 'shine'  in 2 Cor 4:6.  But dnh has another sense which is not preserved by the Greek term.  This Semitic term like its Aramaic counterpart זרח can mean 'to shine' as well as 'to rise' or even 'to appear' which is why it is the Syriac term for the Epiphany.

I think the alternative meaning 'to rise' unlocks the original sense in both passages. What the opening lines of the gospel are saying is that Christ will rise up out of the darkness of the resurrection demonstrating that the world could not overcome him ('the light' in Aramaic is masculine unlike its Greek equivalent which is neuter).  So we can now propose that the original sense of 2 Corinthians 4:6 was:

For God, who commanded the light to rise out of darkness, hath risen in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ

Indeed dnh is actually used in Mark 16:2 for the Greek ἀνατείλαντος. As such it emphasizes Christ as the anatole as elsewhere which is an Alexandrian Jewish term for the messiah (cf. Philo).  Indeed one wonders then whether the Catholic translator of the New Testament has went out of his way to translate the same original Aramaic term זרח two different ways (φαινει in the opening words of the gospel) to obscure its liturgical significance. 

For the moment at least let's put away the linguistic speculation and acknowledge that Origen makes explicit the fact that his Alexandrian tradition understood that the Apostle was citing the gospel.  Could Origen's relationship with a former Marcionite - Ambrose - have something to do with this interpretation?  In any event, we should pay special attention to what Origen writes in Against Celsus:

John also, who lived after him, said, “That which was in the Logos was life, and the life was the light of men;” which “true light lightens every man that comes into the world” (i.e., the true world, which is perceived by the understanding ), and makes him a light of the world: For this light shone in our hearts, to give the light of the glorious Gospel of God in the face of Christ Jesus. [CC 6.5]

So much then for the question as to whether there was a tradition which connected 2 Cor 4:6 to the opening words of the gospel.  Yet this should have been obvious right from the start if someone had looked at the original context of the reference in the Apostolikon.

If we cite the whole section which leads to our citation in the Second Letter to the Corinthians it is patently obvious that 'the gospel' is the context of the original reference rather than Genesis 1:4.  We read:

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Indeed if as I suspect the line which begins with "for we preach not ..." is one of many Catholic additions to break up the natural force of the passage it even becomes plainer that the gospel is being cited:

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

So much then for any question that the Marcionite understanding that the written gospel was already established at the time of the Apostle.  Indeed the man the sect identifies as having written the gospel is actively explaining its hidden meaning throughout the section here.

It is worth noting that Tertullian's textual readings different widely from our received text.  It is difficult to know whether they reflect his own New Testament canon or that of Marcion.  We should probably suspec the former.  In any event, Tertullian's reading drops 'Jesus' from the passage entirely as well us other extraneous bits:

Now he did not observe how much this clause of the sentence made against him: "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to the light of the knowledge in the face of Christ." [Against Marcion 5]

Indeed if we go a little further in his commentary we see another important reference which reinforces the idea that the gospel's opening reference pertains to the resurrection.  For a number of textual critics have noted that Tertullian agrees with the Alexandrian reading in verse 14 that:

the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence

What is so significant for our purposes here is the fact that just a few lines away from the 'shining' references in the Greek of verse 6, the next section speaks of the 'rising' of the resurrection.  Indeed it is quite specifically a reference to a continued rising which has striking parallels with the Alexandrian traditions notion of an ongoing incarnation. 

For the moment however let us just note how Tertullian outlines the Marcionite understanding - and perhaps his own - by clearly distinguishing between 'Jesus' and 'Christ' in the present formulation.  Tertullian begins the discussion with a reference to the 'dying of God' (i.e. Jesus) and goes on to say:

For he sets down the reason, That the life also of Christ may be made manifest in our body, even as, he means, his death too is borne about in the body. Of which life of Christ then is he speaking? Of that by which we are now alive in him? Yet how, in what follows, does he exhort us not towards things visible nor things temporal, but to things invisible and eternal, not, that is, to things present but to things to come? But if he is speaking of the future life of Christ, and says that it will be made manifest in the body, evidently this is a statement of the resurrection of the flesh

The point again is that the original Marcionite reading reflected the idea most certainly that Jesus dies and Christ that is resurrected.  One can make a strong case again that this goes back to the opening words of the gospel. 

In some manner then we should expect that - as we see in the surviving copies of the Diatessaron - the gospel began with Mark 1:1 and was then followed with words to the effect:

In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light (Christ) rises in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome him.

This again was meant as a foreshadowing of the resurrection but clearly in the heretical gospel the light brings with him a hypostasis called 'the life' (hayyah) or salvation which is deposited in the souls on the day of Christ's rising.  One must now strongly suspect that the Syriac term dnh was originally associated with this 'rising' out of the darkness rather than the day Jesus turned water into wine. 

In any event if the resurrection narrative already is referenced by John 1:5 than the incarnation involves someone other than Jesus (whom the Marcionites held was wholly angelic):

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the Onlyborn [yahid], who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The common Hebrew term for Isaac is as the yahid and it is often translated in Greek agapetos (because Isaac as the onlyborn is 'beloved'). I have always thought this was the origin of the agape festival in Christianity. Perhaps this will be the beginning of a new investigation ...

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