Marcion the heresiarch.
Heretic and apostate.
Gnosis: Reconstruction of the Evangelion in six parts
6), with links to relevant texts of
Epiphanius and Tertullian.
Anti-Marcionite prologues (?).
HTML Bible: Epistle to the Laodiceans (Latin only).
Sacred Texts: Epistle to the Laodiceans (English only).
Comparative Religion: Epistle to the Laodiceans (English only).
Marcion at Early Christian Writings.
Marcion at Early Church.
Marcionites in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
Marcion and Luke Compared (Waite).
Marcion, a member of the Roman church toward the middle of
century II, created his own canon of sorts that consisted of
unofficial recensions of the gospel of Luke
and of ten of the epistles of Paul (the
missing epistles were the three pastoral epistles and that to the
Hebrews). He taught that the creator, the God of judgment from
the Hebrew scriptures, was different than the God of mercy of whom
Jesus spoke. He therefore excised the Jewish elements of both
his gospel (the evangelion) and his epistles (the
The church in Rome likewise excised Marcion, so to speak,
excommunicating him in circa 144. A Marcionite church was
formed and was considered heretical. Our best information about
the evangelion and the apostolikon comes from
Tertullian, Against Marcion,
and Epiphanius, Panarion,
especially chapter 42.
Pearse has made the Latin
and English texts of Tertullian, Against
Marcion, available online. Book 4 is about the Evangelion (gospel) of Marcion, book 5 about his
On the gospel of Marcion:
Justin Martyr, Apology
Heresies 1.25.1; 1.27.2-4; 3.11; 4.6.9; 1.27.
Marcion, book 4 (entire).
Eusebius, History of the Church
Epiphanius, Panarion 42.
Against Heresies 3.12.12:
Unde et Marcion et qui ab eo sunt ad intercidendas
conversi sunt scripturas, quasdam quidem in totum non cognoscentes; secundum
Lucam autem evangelium et epistolas Pauli decurtantes, haec sola legitima esse
dicant, quae ipsi minoraveruint. nos autem etiam ex his quae adhuc apud eos
custodiuntur arguemus eos, donante deo, in altera conscriptione.
Wherefore also Marcion and his followers have turned
themselves to mutilating the scriptures, not acknowledging some books at all;
and, curtailing the gospel according to Luke and the epistles of Paul, they
say that these are alone legitimate, which they have themselves thus
shortened. In another work, however, we shall, God granting, argue against
them out of these which they still retain.
Refer also to the similar statement
Tertullian, Against Marcion
5.21.1, on the epistle of Paul to Philemon:
Soli huic epistulae brevitas
sua profuit ut falsarias manus Marcionis evaderet. miror tamen,
cum ad unum hominem litteras factas receperit, quod ad Timotheum
duas et unam ad Titum de ecclesiastico statu compositas recusaverit.
affectavit, opinor, etiam numerum epistularum interpolare.
To this epistle alone has its brevity
profited it so as to evade the falsifying hands of Marcion. I wonder,
however, since he accepted this letter made out to one man,
why he rejected two composed to Timothy and one to Titus concerning
the ecclesiastical system. I suppose it pleased him to tamper even
with the number of the epistles.
Jerome, preface to the epistle of Paul to Titus
(Latin text from B. F. Westcott, The
Epistle to the Hebrews, page lxiii, lacuna his):
Licet non sint digni fide
qui fidem primam irritam fecerunt, Marcionem loquor
et Basilidem et omnes haereticos qui vetus laniant
testamentum, tamen eos aliqua ex parte ferremus si
saltem in novo continerant manus suas. ....
Though they should be unworthy
of faith who have made their first faith void, I speak
of Marcion and Basilides and all the heretics who mangle
the Old Testament,
nevertheless let us bear with them to some extent if
they at least continue [to play] their hands in the
New Testament. ....
Ut enim de ceteris epistolis taceam,
de quibus quidquid contrarium suo dogmati viderant
eraserunt, nonnullas integras repudiandas crediderunt,
ad Timotheum videlicet utramque, ad Hebraeos, et ad
To pass over the rest of the epistles in
silence, from which they erased whatever they saw that was contrary
to their own dogma, they indeed believed that some were to be
repudiated in the whole, clearly both of the two to Timothy,
[the one] to the Hebrews, and [the one] to Titus.
From Tertullian, Against Marcion 4.38.5:
Respondit igitur huius quidem
aevi filios nubere. vides quam pertinenter ad causam. quia de
aevo venturo quaerebatur, in quo neminem nubere definiturus,
praestruxit hic quidem nubi ubi sit et mori. quos vero dignatus
sit deus illius aevi possessione et resurrectione a mortuis neque
nubere neque nubi, quia nec morituri iam sint, cum similes
angelorum fiant, dei et resurrectionis filii facti.
He responded therefore that the sons of
this age marry indeed. You see how pertinent to the cause this was.
Because it was questioned concerning the age to come, in which, he was
going to declare, no one marries, he set a foundation beforehand here
that they are also given in marriage where they die. But they whom God
shall count truly worthy of the possession of that age and of the
resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage,
because neither shall they die anymore, since they become similar to
the angels, being made the sons of God and of the
From Tertullian, Against Marcion
Si enim id evangelium quod Lucae
refertur penes nos, viderimus an et penes Marcionem, ipsum est quod
Marcion per antitheses suas arguit ut interpolatum a protectoribus
Iudaismi ad concorporationem legis et prophetarum, qua etiam Christum
inde confingerent, utique non potuisset arguere nisi quod
If that gospel which among us is ascribed to
Luke, and we shall see whether it is [accepted by] Marcion, if that
is the same that Marcion by his Antitheses
accuses of having been interpolated by the upholders of Judaism so
as to be incorporated with the law and the prophets that they might
also pretend that Christ had that origin, evidently he could only
have brought accusation against something he had found there
Tertullian, Against Marcion
4.19.6 (text and translation based on those
Venimus ad constantissimum argumentum
omnium qui domini nativitatem in controversiam deferunt. ipse, inquiunt,
contestatur se non esse natum dicendo: Quae mihi mater, et qui mihi fratres?
ita semper haeretici aut nudas et simplices voces coniecturis quo volunt
rapiunt, aut rursus condicionales et rationales simplicitatis condicione
dissolvunt, ut hoc in loco.
We now come to the most strenuously plied argument
of all those who call in question the nativity of the Lord. They say that
he himself testifies to his not having been born when he asks: Who is my
mother, and who are my brothers? In this manner heretics either wrest plain
and simple words to any sense they choose by their conjectures or else they
violently resolve by a literal interpretation words which imply a conditional
sense and are incapable of a simple solution, as in this
Tertullian, On the Flesh of
Christ 7 (text and translation based on those
Sed quotiens de nativitate contenditur
omnes qui respuunt eam ut praeiudicantem de carnis in Christo veritate
ipsum dominum volunt negare esse [se] natum quia dixerit: Quae mihi
mater et qui mihi fratres? audiat igitur et Apelles quid iam
responsum sit a nobis Marcioni eo libello quo ad evangelium
ipsius provocavimus, considerandam scilicet materiam pronuntiationis
But as often as there is discussion of the nativity,
all those who reject it, as prejudging the issue concerning the verity of
the flesh in Christ, claim that the Lord himself denies having been born,
on the ground that he asked: Who is my mother and who are my
brothers? So let Apelles too hear what answer I have already
given to Marcion in that work in which I have made appeal to
the gospel which he accepts, namely that the background of that
remark must be taken into consideration.