Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Toward Solving the Mystery of the Name Μαρκίων

I am now certain that Μαρκίων = the those of Mark.  I had a little held from a dissertation written by someone in Notre Dame.  Eric Rowe in his recent dissertation Called By the Name of the Lord: Early Uses of the Name and Titles of Jesus in Identifying his followers notes:

A final possible reference to the Herodians is a Roman inscription that might read [ΣΥΝΑ]ΓΩΓΗΣ [Η]ΡΟΔΙΩΝ. If this is a reference to the Herodians, then its –ιων is an alternate spelling of –ειων. While this identification is speculative, other Roman inscriptions bear witness to synagogues named for important political figures, including Agrippesians (Ἀγριππησίων) and Augustesians (Αὐγυστησίων).(p. 40)

As such it would seem we are back to our original thesis that -ίων in the context of the name Μαρκίων means 'belonging to Mark' either in the sense of writings belonging to Mark or followers of Mark.  That is still an improvement over my thesis last time which attempted to do the same with Aramaic.

Another example.  There is an inscription seen by Agathias which was the subject of a recent article by Rudolf Halbet:

Since Agathias said thatthe inscription stood in an estate called Σιδηροῦς , the evident supplement is Σιδ[ηρ]είων . This might be an estate, as Agathias inferred, but was more probably a district or village in which iron was mined, and whose members formed a local association (κοινόν).(p. 9)

This is the idea at the heart of the name Μαρκίων as denoting an association. Noting from Rowe's dissertation:

The local congregations of the Jesus movement were often regarded as voluntary associations in antiquity. Pliny classifies them as hetaerias (Ep. 10.96.7), a label he uses elsewhere for voluntary associations (Ep. 10.34). Lucian of Samosata refers to a leader within the movement as a θιασάρχης, a leader of a θιασός or voluntary association (Perigrinus 11). Celsus refers to Christian groups as κοινωνιαί, another word for associations (Origen, Contra Celsum 8.17). Tertullian says, “We are an association [corpus]” (1 Apol. 39). The late second-century Martyrs of Lyons employs a play on words likening Christianity to a guild by calling it an ἀδελφότης centered on τῆς τέχνης Χριστοῦ.

Email stephan.h.huller@gmail.com with comments or questions.

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