Thursday, November 20, 2014

66. the gospel of Marcion had Matthew 7:18 - 20

Megethius the Marcionite  "Just what the Gospel says, 'An unsound tree cannot bear good fruit, neither can a sound tree bear bad fruit.' [Matt 7.18 De Recta in Deum Fide p. 74 Pretty translation]
Another verse with dualistic language (at least according to Marcion) can be found at Matthew 7:18–20:
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits. 
For Marcion, there could be only two explanations: the good tree was the God found in the Christian Bible and the bad fruit was the Hebrew Bible while the bad tree was the Hebrew God and the good fruit, the Christian Bible. Another explanation was that the God of the Christian Bible could not do anything evil or warlike (“bearing bad fruit”). This passage from Matthew must have been central to Marcion's teachings, since Tertullian, at the beginning of his Against Marcion, states that Marcion had used Matthew 7:18 to justify his entire set of beliefs. [Kevin W. Kaatz Early Controversies and the Growth of Christianity p. 45] 
For Marcion, Jesus' teaching about two types of trees (Matt. 7:18) implied the existence of two gods—“one judicial, harsh, mighty in war; the other mild, placid, and simply good and excellent.” [Gregg Allision Historical Theology: An Introduction to Christian Doctrine p. 281] 
(Brent discussing the inscription on the statue of Hippolytus) But a comparison of the contents of Marcion's argument in Tertullian Contra Marcionem I with this title on the Statue shows that its lost contents must have approximated to a refutation of this particular heresy. Marcion's argument begins with Matt. 8,18, that is to say with the Parable of the Good and Bad Tree and its teaching that neque bona malos neque mala bonos proferatfructus. The parable is thus used to pose the mali quaestionem, "unde malum.' There can therefore be little doubt that the subject matter of the lost peri tagathou kai pothen to kakon was specifically a discussion of Marcion's heresy [Allen Brent Hippolytus p. 327]

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