Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Summary of All Evidence for the 'Against Marcion' Literary Tradition

To summarize our analysis of the various statements made in the Church History about treatises made against Marcion in the first few hundred years of Christianity:

  1. there seems to have been a paired collection 'Against Heresies' generally and 'Against Marcion' which is connected to every major Church Father of the period, Greek or Latin - i.e. Justin, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hippolytus.
  2. Schaff acknowledges difficulties with Eusebius's reporting of the 'Against Marcion' attributed to Justin in Book Four of Irenaeus's 'Against Heresies.'  Eusebius pretends to cite from the text when in fact he is only drawing from the First Apology. It is safe to conclude that the citation of such a text in Against Heresies was not matched by an actual text of this name associated with Justin Martyr.  
  3. The same difficulty exists with 'Against Heresies' claim that Irenaeus ever composed an 'Against Marcion.'  Aside from the reference to it our surviving collection of Irenaeus, the actual text never existed.  
  4. the earliest anti-Marcionite treatise which actually existed and was witnessed firsthand by Eusebius was something written by Dionysius of Corinth at the end of the second century.  It was directed against 'the Marcionites' generally rather than Marcion per se. Dionysius likely also references at least one other anti-Marcionite bishop from Greece in the document.  
  5. Eusebius also mentions that a similar text against 'the errors' associated with Marcionitism was written by a certain Modestus was written at the same time.  
  6. Theophilus originally wrote an anti-Marcionite treatise which likely formed the basis to Against Marcion Book Four and Five.  This text was clearly greatly modified from a Diatessaron and Galatians first canon to a presumption of a fourfold canon and an assumption that Marcion had a Galatians first canon.
  7. Eusebius cites anti-Marcionite works by the heretic Bardesanes but glosses over the fact that he was a heretic.  No actual evidence to suggest that Bardesanes ever bought into the historical existence of a 'Marcion' the head of the 'Marcionites.'
  8. all the rest of the references to people associated with treatises directed 'Against Marcion' in Eusebius's book lived or wrote in the third century (we have already dealt with the arguments that the references to Marcion of Pontus in Justin's Apology and Irenaeus's Against Heresies were third century insertions in a previous post.  

Email with comments or questions.

Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.