Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Was the Term 'Marcion' Formed After the Manner of 'Ioudaion' (= belonging to Judas)'?

We have learned to think of 'the Jews' as the people of the 'Jewish religion' or 'Judaism.' But the Greek terms did not arise this way. Judaism is a late term arguably arising no earlier than the second century. To this end, the order of how terms developed is extremely significant. It stands to reason that when Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire there was no Ἰουδαία. There may well have been a concept of Ἰουδαίκός which can simply be divided between root and stem Ἰουδα-ίκός. As such, it would seem that the Jews were originally identified as those of Judah (= Gk. Ιούδας). The gospel writer was probably aware of this etymology and so made 'Judas' prototypical of all Jews (= ἰουδαίων). The point is that τῶν ἰουδαίων (= the Jews) are to Ιούδας what Μαρκίων originally was to this groups founder Μᾶρκος. Also 2 Maccabees 14:6 the Hasidaeans are identified as followers of Judas - οι λεγομενοι των ιουδαιων ασιδαιοι ων αφηγειται ιουδας ο μακκαβαιος, NEB: "Those of the Jews who are called Hasidaeans whose captain is Judas Maccabees") but this also gives little indication of the term's referent.

I also noticed that 1 Maccabees 2:42 makes reference to the 'synagogue of the Hasidim' - συναγωγη ασιδαιων.  There is an uncanny usage of the -ιων suffix in conjunction with contemporary Jewish voluntary associations.  We know from Irenaeus that the Marcionites and other early heretics gathered in synagogues.  This is explicitly confirmed by the discovery of "a synagogue of the Marcionites" near the village of Lebaba near Damascus, built by "a presbyter" in 318.  While this building is identified in the fourth century as a Συναγωγὴ Μαρκιωνιστῶν one wonders whether in the earliest period of Christianity these meeting houses were called συναγωγης Μαρκιων (= the synagogue of those of Mark) after the pattern of other inscriptions known to archaeology = συναγωγης Αγριππησιων, συναγωγης Αυγοστησιων, συναγωγης των Αυγουστησιων, συνα[γωγης] Αυγοστη[σιων], "ton Augustesion"; συναγωγης Αιβρεων, [συν]αγωγης Εβρ[εων],των Εβρεων; συνα]γωγὴ Ἐβρ[αίων]; [συνα]γωγης [των] Ηροδιων (?); συναγωγης Καλκαρησιων, συναγωγης των Καρκαρησιων; συναγωγης Καμπησιων (two inscriptions), "Synagogarum Campi et Bolumni"; Σιβουρησιων, Σ[ιβο]υρησιων.

Email with comments or questions.

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